UEFA held the draw for the group stage of the Champions League on Thursday in Istanbul.
Ten players on the U.S. men's national team roster for the World Cup 2022 qualifiers that begin next week are on teams competing in the group stage. Four other Americans are currently on the rosters of Champions League teams.
Group A: Manchester City (Zack Steffen), Paris SG, RB Leipzig (Tyler Adams, Coach Jesse Marsch), Club Brugge (Owen Otasowie).
Man City vs. PSG, the battle of the sovereign states, Abu Dhabi vs. Qatar. The reaction of Tyler Adams here is a classic.
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Group B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan.
Atletico Madrid is the top seed, but the other three teams are all former champions with 15 trophies in the European Cup and Champions League between them.
Group C: Sporting, Borussia Dortmund (Gio Reyna), Ajax, Besiktas.
Borussia Dortmund won its group last season and Reyna's buddy, Erling Haaland, went on to score 10 goals in eight games as BVB reached the quarterfinals under interim coach Edin Terzic. The task for new coach Marco Rose will be to take Dortmund at least as far in what should be Haaland's last season with the club.
Group D: Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff Tiraspol.
Sheriff Tiraspol is the first team from Moldova to ever qualify for the Champions League group stage. Its roster includes players from 19 different countries. Sheriff? It's the club owner and controls most of Tiraspol's economy (supermarkets, gas stations, construction, broadcasting).
Group E: Bayern Munich (Chris Richards, Taylor Booth), Barcelona (Sergino Dest), Benfica, Dynamo Kiev.
The last time Bayern and Barca met it was in the one-off quarterfinals of the 2020 Champions League in which Bayern humiliated Barca, 8-2.
Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys (Jordan Pefok, Coach David Wagner).
Villarreal beat Manchester United to win the 2021 Europa League and earn a berth in the 2021-22 Champions League.
Group G: Lille (Tim Weah), Sevilla, Red Bull Salzburg (Brenden Aaronson), Wolfsburg (John Brooks).
Lille, the French champion, earned one point in six games two years ago in the Champions League. Draw sets it to do much better this time.
Group H: Chelsea (Christian Pulisic), Juventus (Weston McKennie), Zenit St Petersburg, Malmo (Romain Gall).
Zenit will host the final May 28 at Saint Petersburg's Gazprom Arena. It will be very lucky to get out of the group stage. Ditto for Malmo.