Champions League: Leicester invited to dream as Man City get Barca

Jamie Vardy and Leicester will meet Porto, Club Brugge and FC Kobenhavn in the group stage
Jamie Vardy and Leicester will meet Porto, Club Brugge and FC Kobenhavn in the group stage

Leicester and Tottenham will be happier with their Champions League group stage hands than Man City and Arsenal...


"Despite being second seeds, the Premier League’s leading hopefuls at 13.5 Man City maintained their big-team magnetism, attracting their coach’s former club Barcelona, 2015/16 foes Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic in Group C."

Though the reason that Leicester fans salivated over their unexpected Champions League opportunity was the possibility of taking on Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, you suspect that they won't be too disappointed not to be presented with such fixtures before Christmas.

The Premier League champions were granted top-seed status despite their continental inexperience and the result was that they swerved each of those heavyweights. They also avoided pot two's top dogs Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, instead joining Porto, Club Brugge and FC Kobenhavn in Group G.

It means that, even if this adventure is to prove a one off, Claudio Ranieri's men really can dream of elongating it to the knockout phase, regardless of being a distant 46.045/1 to lift the trophy at the first attempt.

Their draw was a lot gentler than the one that greets Pep Guardiola in his opening campaign as Manchester City boss. Despite being second seeds, the Premier League's leading hopefuls at 13.5 maintained their big-team magnetism, attracting their coach's former club Barcelona, 2015/16 foes Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic in Group C.

It wasn't much better for Arsenal, who resisted Bayern Munich on this occasion but must deal with Paris St-Germain instead. Basel and Ludogorets might not seem like the most daunting duo ever to close Group A, yet their previous pairing came two years ago when they both contributed to Liverpool's demise. The Gunners are 34.033/1 outsiders in the winner betting.

Somewhere in between Arsenal and Leicester at 42.041/1 are Tottenham, whose Group E line-up looked perfect when they were plonked alongside CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen, though the presence of Monaco, one of pot four's strongest sides, removed some of the shine.

Holders and 6.411/2 third favourites Real Madrid will tackle Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Legia Warsaw in Group F, while Bayern Munich 5.39/2 will be accompanied by their 2015/16 conquerors Atletico Madrid, PSV and Rostov in Group D.

The most fancied participants from beyond Spain or Germany, Juventus, are again tasked with facing Sevilla in Group H, a quartet which is completed by Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb. The Old Lady are 12.5 fourth favourites even after selling Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata owing to some shrewd acquisitions.

Finally, Group B combined Benfica, Napoli, Dynamo Kiev and Besiktas. The action begins on September 13. Full draw below...

Group A
Paris St-Germain
Arsenal
Basel
Ludogorets

Group B
Benfica
Napoli
Dynamo Kiev
Besiktas

Group C
Barcelona
Man City
Borussia Monchengladbach
Celtic

Group D
Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid
PSV
Rostov

Group E
CSKA Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen
Tottenham
Monaco

Group F
Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund
Sporting Libson
Legia Warsaw

Group G
Leicester
Porto
Club Brugge
Kobenhavn

Group H
Juventus
Sevilla
Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb

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