X

Champions League 2019-20 Key Dates and Fixtures for Group Stage After the Draw

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2019

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard in action during the second half of an International Champions Cup soccer match against Atletico Madrid, Friday, July 26, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. Atletico Madrid won 7-3. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

The 2019 UEFA Champions League draw on Thursday created a number of mouthwatering ties, including Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid being paired in Group A. 

European champions Liverpool will face Napoli for a second straight season in the group stages, this time in Group E. The Premier League side were defeated 1-0 by the Blues in Italy last October.

Juventus and Atletico Madrid feature in Group D, while Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur were drawn in Group B.

The first group games are to be played on September 17 and 18. Here's the full draw and a look at some of the fascinating fixtures to come:

#UCLdraw @ChampionsLeague

The official result of the 2019/20 #UCLdraw! 😍 3⃣ toughest groups are __ __ & __ 🤔 https://t.co/c7Xdro1vhn

                         

PSG vs. Real Madrid: Wednesday, Sept. 18 (9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET)

With the European transfer window still open, both PSG and Real can make changes before they begin their Champions League endeavours.

Neymar could soon depart the French capital, leaving Thomas Tuchel with a void in his starting XI. Both teams are in transition, but with the signings of Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, Los Blancos appear ready to find the form they lost last season.

Hazard arrived from Chelsea to link up with Zinedine Zidane and win silverware with the coach. The Belgium international now has the biggest stage of his career to prove his global reputation. Many will favour Madrid to win the group, but with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani leading their attack when they return from injuries, PSG will be no pushover in the group stage.

                             

Bayern Munich vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Wednesday, Dec. 11 (9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. GMT, 3 p.m. ET)

Spurs went all the way to the final last season, and under Mauricio Pochettino, the north London side have developed into a dangerous Champions League outfit. A trip to Bayern Munich will test the English team, with Spurs labouring during the group stages last season before qualifying with only two victories.

The Bundesliga champions will be wary of facing Harry Kane, but with Dele Alli returning from injury, Niko Kovac's defence will need to be finely tuned. The Bavarians have welcomed the big-money addition of Lucas Hernandez, and the France international will provide versatility and cover across the back.

The loan captures of Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic will freshen Bayern's attack, and their creativity should be enough for the Germans to progress to the next round.

                              

Juventus vs. Atletico Madrid: Tuesday, Nov. 26 (9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. GMT, 3 p.m. ET)

PARMA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus  during the Italian Serie A   match between Parma v Juventus at the Stadio Ennio Tardini on August 24, 2019 in Parma Italy (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The present and the future of Portuguese football clash when Cristiano Ronaldo faces Joao Felix in the Champions League.

The Italians brought Ronaldo to Turin to help them win the competition, and after failure last term, the Old Lady will be led by Maurizio Sarri at the helm. Felix is the new darling of Atleti, with the striker purchased to replace Antoine Griezmann.

At 19, the expectations on Felix's shoulders are huge, and his brush with Ronaldo this season will provide a chance to learn on the biggest stage in football. Diego Simeone's team could eventually buckle after losing Griezmann and Hernandez, but they will not shy away from the chance to prove themselves against Italy's best team.

                       

Napoli vs. Liverpool: Tuesday, Sept. 17 (9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET)

After yet another phenomenal European run for Liverpool last season, ending in them becoming six-time winners, it is easy to forget how they were pushed to their limits in last year's group phase. Napoli defeated Liverpool and ended even on nine points with Klopp's team. However, it was Liverpool who progressed, while Napoli slipped into the UEFA Europa League by the slimmest of margins.

The Reds built their success on a competitive defence last term, with their forwards given the opportunity to use their chemistry and find the goals. Napoli have managed to retain in-demand centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, and he will be vital in the effort to stop the rampant English front line.

                                                

Barcelona vs. Borussia Dortmund: Wednesday, Nov. 27 (9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. GMT, 3 p.m. ET)

Joan Monfort/Associated Press

Barcelona continue to drive their usual standards in La Liga, but success in Europe has not overflowed, despite Lionel Messi's presence. The Spanish champions were undefeated in last year's group stage, but BVB also gave an excellent account of themselves, winning Group A ahead of Atletico.

The inclusion of an improving and rebuilding Inter Milan in Group F makes the clash between Barca and BVB all the more important. Ousmane Dembele could feature against his former team after switching life in Germany for Spain, but in Jadon Sancho, the Bundesliga side quickly found their next world-class prodigy after Dembele's exit.

Messi will undoubtedly have the biggest say on the direction of the group if he stays fit and healthy. However, Dortmund will have no fear travelling to the Camp Nou to prove their flair and invention.