Aussie stars cop ultimate Champions League test

Celtic’s strong Australian contingent will face the ultimate Champions League test after being drawn to face holders Real Madrid in Group F.

Manager Ange Postecoglou, assistant Harry Kewell and midfielder Aaron Mooy were also drawn with Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk and German club RB Leipzig at a glitzy ceremony in Istanbul on Friday.

Madrid are the most successful football club on the planet and captured a record-extending 14th European crown when they beat Liverpool in last season’s final.

Watch the world’s best footballers and every game of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League, streaming ad free, live and exclusive on Stan Sport

Carlo Ancelotti’s star-studded squad includes luminaries Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois.

“I also wanted to play against Real Madrid and to have them at Celtic Park will be very nice because we have great supporters and they give us all energy,” Celtic’s gun striker Kyogo Furuhashi said.

“So hopefully the atmosphere itself scares them and we, as players, just play football and do what we have to do and bring them victory and make everybody happy.”

READ MORE: Kyrgios handed cruel US Open draw

READ MORE: Unvaxxed Djokovic ruled out of US Open

READ MORE: Walters unloads on ‘awful’ Broncos

Vinicius fires Madrid in front

The Champions League kicks off on September 7 and the group stage will feature six rounds of games spanning eight weeks before the FIFA World Cup in November.

While beating Madrid will be a tough ask, Postecoglou will believe he can pilot Celtic into the round of 16 after his first-year heroics in Glasgow.

Donetsk are ravaged by war and will play their home games in Poland while Leipzig is a good, but not great team.

Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan, meanwhile, is in line for a busy night when his new FC Copenhagen club tackle Premier League champions Manchester City in Group G.

The tough draw also includes Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla.

Similarly, Australian striker Nikita Rukavytsya will face the bright lights when his Maccabi Haifa outfit meets Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar with Paris Saint-Germain in a Group H that also features Juventus and Benfica.

And Socceroos gun Ajdin Hrustic (Eintracht Frankfurt) has been drawn in what shapes to be a competitive Group D with Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon and Marseille.

In a glamorous group, Barcelona will face fellow former champions Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

Barcelona has recruited former Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski — the two-time FIFA player of the year who will now face his recent teammates — despite financial turmoil that has affected his ability to register and retain players.

Lewandowski at his lethal Bayern best

“Only football writes such stories,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“Barcelona have got stronger. ‘Lewy’ is there. They’ve done a thing or two in the transfer market. There will be some exciting games.”

Another reunion after a blockbuster offseason move will see Man City’s star signing Erling Haaland going back to his old club Dortmund.

Mahrez’s left foot does it again

Pep Guardiola’s team shapes as the early favorite for a first Champions League title in his seventh season.

Liverpool and Rangers will have a rare England-Scotland clash in the Champions League.

Their Group A also includes Ajax and Napoli and promises a pulsating atmosphere in each stadium.

“This is a proper, proper challenge,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.

“All of the clubs have quality, they all have pedigree and I would say they all have a chance.

“We did not ask for any favors and we have not been given any but this is not a competition where you can look for easy ways through because the standard is always unbelievably high.”

Fixture congestion caused by the first World Cup played in the European winter means the Champions League final is on June 11 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey.

It’s the latest scheduled final since the inaugural European Cup title match in 1956.

The 32 teams will share about $2.9 billion in UEFA prize money.

GROUP A: Ajax (Netherlands), Liverpool (England), Napoli (Italy), Rangers (Scotland)

GROUP B: Porto (Portugal), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Club Brugge (Belgium)

GROUP C: Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Inter Milan (Italy), Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)

GROUP D: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Tottenham (England), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Marseille (France)

BAND: AC Milan (Italy), Chelsea (England), Salzburg (Austria), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)

GROUP F: Real Madrid (Spain), RB Leipzig (Germany), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Celtic (Scotland)

GROUP G: Manchester City (England), Sevilla (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark)

GROUP H: Paris Saint-Germain (France), Juventus (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Maccabi Haifa (Israel)

#Aussie #stars #cop #ultimate #Champions #League #test

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.