Football

Who can Man Utd get in the Champions League group stage draw?

Man Utd have returned to the elite club competition after just one season away, but which teams could they potentially face in the group stage draw?

Manchester United are back where they belong historically which is in the Champions League – the most coveted competition in Europe. They ended up finishing third in the Premier League, leapfrogging Newcastle to that position after a tight battle between the two clubs throughout the 2022/23 season.

After failing to win the Europa League last year, Erik ten Hag will be massively eager for his team to leave a positive impression and make a deep run in the most prestigious club competition in football. It all starts with the group stages, which raises the all-important question – who could Manchester United face?GOAL takes a look at Manchester United’s potential opponents in the opening round of the 2023/24 Champions League edition…

Which 2023/24 Champions League pot are Man Utd in?
Thanks to their last season’s Premier League position and their superior UEFA coefficient, Manchester United will be in Pot 2 for the group stage draw – alongside some other stellar names who they, thankfully, won’t be facing in the opening round of the competition.

Real Betis 0 - 1 Manchester United

Pot 2 Country
Real Madrid Spain
Manchester United England
Inter Milan Italy
Borussia Dortmund Germany
Atletico Madrid Spain
RB Leipzig Germany
Porto Portugal
Arsenal England
Who are Manchester United likely to face in the 2023/24 Champions League group stages
As alluded to above, Manchester United have been assigned Pot 2, meaning that they will not face any teams from the same pot. That includes some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Premier League rivals Arsenal and serial Champions League winners Real Madrid, joined by the likes of beaten finalists Inter, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, and Porto.

The Red Devils will face up against three other teams in the group stage, one from each of the remaining pots. It’s an incredibly strong range of teams across all pots, which means there will be more huge encounters in the group stage.

Ideally, United fans would want a well-balanced group with a couple of favourable clashes and a glamour tie so as to give their beloved team the best chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

The first thing many fans will look for is the perceived beatable sides from Pot 1. Generally, the champions of Portugal or the Netherlands, as well as the current holders of the Europa League, are often seen as a favorable draw.
In this case, those lightweight teams are Benfica, Feyenoord, and Sevilla, albeit Manchester United supporters are tired of the Andalusian side after being dumped out of the Europa League quarter-finals by the La Liga outfit last time out and would want to avoid them entirely.

The rest of the Pot 1 contains heavyweights such as Barcelona, Napoli, Bayern Munich, and PSG, all of whom could be placed in a group with The Reds.

Manchester City are also in Pot 1 after winning the competition for the first time in their history last season. United will not be able to face their city rivals in the group stage, however, due to the UEFA ruling that states clubs from the same country cannot be pitted against each other in the group stages.

Similarly, they can’t be drawn to Newcastle United from Pot 4, which holds surprise package teams such as Union Berlin, Lens, Celtic, Young Boys, Galatasaray, Antwerp, and Real Sociedad, who shared a Europa League group with United last season.

Pot 3 features Italian giants AC Milan and Lazio, who have been joined by Shakhtar Donetsk, RB Salzburg, AC Milan, Lazio, Copenhagen, Braga, PSV, and Red Star Belgrade.

When is the Champions League Group Stage Draw?
Manchester United will not know their fate until the draw takes place on August 31, with qualifiers finishing a day earlier.

Source: manutd