Roberto di Matteo
Roberto di Matteo Getty Images

Blues date with the Old Lady

CHAMPIONS League holder Chelsea will begin its title defence with a blockbuster clash against Italian giant Juventus.

Roberto di Matteo's men, who beat Bayern Munich on penalties in Germany in the final last season, will also take on Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk and Denmark's FC Nordsjaelland.

Roberto Mancini will pit his wits against Jose Mourinho after English champion Manchester City was paired in the same group as Spanish title holders Real Madrid and it will not get any easier as City will also face Dutch champions Ajax and German title holders Borussia Dortmund.

Celtic's reward for coming through the playoffs is to be pitted against Barcelona in Group G.

Neil Lennon's side will also face tough ties againsty Spartak Moscow and Benfica but the manager is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's a tough, tough group but all the teams play good football, so they will be attractive games to watch," Lennon said.

Manchester United, meanwhile faces Tuskish side Galatasaray, Portuguese outfit Braga and FC Cluj from Romania.
Arsenal will play Schalke, Olympiakos and Montpellier in its group.