With the UEFA Champions League group stage draw scheduled for August 31, Manchester United will be anxiously waiting to hear who their group stage opponents will be.
Following their third-placed finish in the Premier League last season, this will be a welcome return to the Champions League for Man United, who played in the Europa League last season following a disappointing season prior to Erik ten Hag’s arrival at the club.
Because of their UEFA coefficient ranking, United have been placed in Pot 2 of the of the draw.
Although they may not be classified among the most elite clubs in the competition, being placed in Pot 2 comes with its own perks for the Red Devils.
Because two teams from the same pot cannot be placed in the same group, United will avoid a group stage encounter with the likes of 14-time winners Real Madrid and Inter Milan, who made it to last year’s final with Andre Onana in their ranks.
Still, Pot 1 presents several challenging potential group-stage rivals for United.
Given that teams from the same country cannot be placed in the same group, United will avoid a clash with local rivals Manchester City, however, European juggernauts such as FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and PSG could prove to be threatening opponents early on in the tournament.
Reigning Europa League champions Sevilla will be one of the dark horses to keep an eye out for should they face United in the group stage.
United will no doubt crave revenge against the Spanish side that dumped them out of last season’s Europa League.
Serie A champions Napoli have also proven to be a team in fine form, as have Benfica, who made it to last year’s quarter-finals.
While there are still some places in pot 3 and pot 4 up for grabs as the playoff rounds continue, AC Milan stands out as a powerful opponent, having reached last season’s semi-final.
Real Sociedad is another tough opponent, as United learned during their Europa League group stage defeat to the La Liga club a few months ago.
No matter which of the aforementioned teams are drawn alongside United, Ten Hag and his players will need to be on high alert as they look to forge a path to the Champions League knockouts while navigating a busy fixture schedule.
Potential Group of Death: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, AC Milan, Real Sociedad