The draw for the Champions League group stages took place today sealing the fate of the 32 teams involved. Manchester United were seeded for the draw in Pot one alongside the team they lost to in last season’s final, Barcelona.
Fellow English teams Arsenal and Chelsea were also seeded in Pot one whereas local rivals Manchester City were seeded in Pot three.
The draw saw United placed in Group C along with Benfica from Portugal, Basel from Switzerland and Romanian side Oţelul Galaţi. United’s European relations with Benfica date back to 1968 when they beat them in the European Champions Cup final. Benfica beat United 2-1 in the 2005-2006 campaign, a defeat which saw United fail to proceed past the group stage. The two met again in the group stages the following season. However it was United who succeeded this time in yet another decisive clash, beating the Portuguese outfit 3-1. Last season Benfica reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, going out to Braga.
In 2002-2003 Basel surprised many by reaching the second group stages and the last 16 where they were drawn in a group with United. United won one of the clashes 3-1 and the other was a 1-1 draw. United advanced, coming top of the group, whereas Basel lost out on a place in the last 8 due to goal difference. Basel won the Swiss Super League last season.
Oţelul Galaţi will be making their debut in the Champions League this season, having only previously competed in the Uefa Cup. They have qualified for this season competition by winning their first Liga 1 title in Romania last season.
Rivals Manchester City have been drawn in a group alongside Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli.
United’s Champions League fixtures will be:
14th v Benfica (Away)
27th v FC Basel (Home)
18th v Oţelul Galaţi (Away)
2nd v Oţelul Galaţi (Home)
22nd v Benfica (Home)
7th v FC Basel (Away)