Manchester City drawn in Champions League 'Group of Death' against Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund


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The Independent Football

Manchester City have been handed an incredibly tough draw for the group stage of the Champions League.

The Premier League champions will play Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam and Borussia Dortmund - the champions of Spain, Holland and Germany respectively.

It was a nightmare scenario for manager Roberto Mancini, who will be expected to take his side far in this year's competition after they failed to progress from a tough group last season.

Elsewhere, holders Chelsea will play Italian champions Juventus. Also in their group are Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Nordsjylland.

Arsenal will play  Schalke 04, Olympiakos and Montpellier.

The easiest draw among the four English sides in this year's premier European competition was handed to Manchester United. Alex Ferguson's side will play Braga, Galatasaray and FC Cluj. The draw will be a relief for United, who failed to progress from the group stage last season.

Scotland's only representative, Celtic, face a daunting trip to the Nou Camp having been grouped with Barcelona. But with Benfica and Spartak Moscow the other teams, Neil Lennon will harbour some hope of progression.

Following the draw, Real Madrid midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo admitted that Group D was the toughest.

Ronaldo said: "It is the most difficult group in my opinion and I think that's the same for most people.

"But we are champions of Spain and we are ready to compete with everybody."

Champions League group stage draw...

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain, Dinamo Zagreb

Group B: Arsenal, Schalke 04, Olympiakos, Montpellier

Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga

Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax Amsterdam, Borussia Dortmund

Group E:  Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjylland

Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov

Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic

Group H:  Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, FC Cluj