Clubs from 18 national associations were represented in the field, with England and Spain leading the pack with four teams apiece. Legends of the game present and past, including Luis Figo and Carlos Puyol were on hand to help proceedings.
Group assignments after the jump...
Four-time winner Bayern Munich will face tough challenges from rising English powerhouse Manchester City, which will look to improve on the club’s previous best of a first-round appearance.
Inter Milan looks to be the early favorite in Group B, but the three-time Champions League winner will need to watch out for Lille, the defending French league champion.
Perennial powerhouse Manchester United have to be pleased with their draw, but Portugese side Benefica (a two-time winner) will look to upset Sir Alex Ferguson’s boys and cannot be overlooked.
Spanish powerhouse and La Liga runner-up Real Madrid will be the favorite in Group D, but maximizing its points away to any of the teams in its group will not be easy. Lyon went to the round of 16 last year and will look to build on that performance next year.
Group E will feature some of the most exciting matches in my opinion, and picking a clear favorite is difficult on paper. Chelsea and Valencia both cleared the group stage last year, but a resurgent Leverkusen side will make repeating that feat a challenge.
Arsene Wenger has to be happy with his side’s draw in this year’s tournament, but his depleted Arsenal squad is far from a lock to win Group F.
Zenit St. Petersburg
Porto looks to be the favorite in Group G, but Shakhtar Donetsk’s surprising quarterfinals appearance last year might not be a fluke. Expect fierce competition from the Ukranaian champions.
This group seems to have the best individual matchup in my opinion with Italian giant Milan facing defending champion Barcelona. Do Messi and Co. have what it takes to shrug off AC Milan?
As always the Champions League is stacked with talent, and i am hard pressed to declare any group the Group of Death. Which group matchups are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.