By Lee Savery.
Manchester United have been drawn in Group A alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad in the Champions League group stage for 2013/14 season.
The draw is a favourable group, in terms of worst possible scenarios, for David Moyes in his first experience of managing a team at the pinnacle of European football. The draw was done in Monaco, as usual, on the eve of the UEFA Super Cup final on Friday.
United have faced Leverkusen on four occasions in two straight seasons between 2002 & 2003. In 2002, the German club defeated the Red Devils on away goals rule at the semi-final stage with the aggregate score of 3-3. The teams were drawn in the group stage the next season with United triumphing on both occasions, 2-1 & 2-0 respectively. They are currently managed by former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypiä.
While the club has history against Leverkusen, it will be the first time they have faced both Shakhtar Donetsk & Real Sociedad and will both provide a tricky challenge on their mission to progress. However, the group will be one that Manchester United will expect to progress from.
Elsewhere with British sides: Manchester City were drawn in Group D with current European Champions Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen. Chelsea are in Group E with Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucharest. Arsenal were handed, arguably, the toughest draw of the English teams with Marseille, Serie A runners-up Napoli and Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund joining them in Group F. Tough draws are well known for Celtic as they were drawn with FC Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax in Group H.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw in full:
Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, Copenhagen
Group C: Benfica, Paris St-Germain, Olympiakos, Anderlecht
Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen
Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli
Group G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic
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