Manchester City are looking to put the final Champions League disappointment behind them as the Blues gear up for the new season.
The Blues will face Leicester City at Wembley on Saturday in the traditional curtain-raiser of the season, before facing Spurs in north London a week later. The Champions League is set to start in September, with the Blues looking to do better than last season and win the competition for the first time in their history.
Here, we take a look at a few possible teams the Blues would face.
As Premier League champions, City feature in Pot 1, alongside Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, German giants Bayern Munich, Italian Scudetto winners Inter Milan, Lique 1 champions Lille and Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon. They will join Chelsea as current champions and Villareal, who beat United in the Europa League final last season.
And the unique situation, especially with the French, Spanish and Italian leagues all having new champions than the regular teams, means that some big names are listed in Pot 2.
Real Madrid and Barcelona both enter the competition in the second group, as do Juventus, PSG, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund. The numbers come from United and Liverpool, who finished second and third in the Premier League respectively.
As always, City cannot be drawn against another English team, meaning there is a 50% chance of a trip to Spain, while the group matches against Dortmund or PSG, both beaten by City at home and away in the round of 16 last year could be ready for a grudge against the Blues. City last faced Juventus in 2015, when the Italians scored a Champions League brace against the Blues. However, City have never faced Sevilla in any form of competition.
Pot 3 is not yet over, but Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta and Zenit St Petersburg are all guaranteed a spot in the group stage. City last met Ajax during the Blues’ miserable campaign in 2012, when they were beaten by the Dutch 3-1 in the away game, and drew 2-2 at home . Les Bleus have never lost in four matches against Porto and faced Atalanta for the first time in 2019, when City won 5-1, before drawing 1-1 away. City have never faced Leipzig or Zenit in competition.
Pot 4 is even less complete, but AC Milan and Wolfsburg have been confirmed as contenders for the group stage. Les Bleus faced Milan in 1978 when they took a goal lead at San Siro, before being reduced to 2-2. In the second leg, City won 3-0 at Maine Road. Meanwhile, City have never faced Wolfsburg in any competition.
Who else could they face?
Either FC Salzburg or Brondby will advance to the group stage after being reunited in play-offs. The rest depends on the results of the qualifying rounds, but there are still a few well-known names in there.
Rangers could advance to the group stage if they beat Sweden’s Malmo in the qualifying round and either Olympiacos or Ludogrets in the play-off. Monaco, who knocked out City on away goals after a 6-6 overall draw in 2017, will face Sparta Prague in qualifying, and face either Belgian Genk or City’s old friends Shakhtar Donetsk. , if they were to defeat the Czech team.
And two biggest names in European football could face off in the play-offs if they were to beat their opponents in the qualifying round.
Benfica and PSV Eindhoven could face each other for a place in the group stage, but they must pass Spartak Moscow and FC MidtJylland respectively. Midtjylland knocked Celtic out of the qualifying phase and will be remembered by City faithful as the team that pushed the Blues to the limit in 2008. After beating City in Manchester, the Blues were seconds to go. of the UEFA Cup in the 2sd qualifying round when an own goal saved the blues. City won 4-2 on penalties en route to a quarter-final loss to Hamburg of Martin Jol.
No matter who they face, City will need to take inspiration from the spirit of last season’s incredible run that saw them win all but one of their games before reaching the final.
Who would you like to see City face in the group stage? Let us know your thoughts.