Glasgow Rangers finally returns to UCL after waiting for 12 years whereas Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland have to face off their former clubs sooner than expected.


Champions League playoff round has been completed and so has the group stage this week. Europa League 2022 runners-up, Glasgow Rangers at last make their return to UCL group stage after missing out since 2010. Giovanni Van Bronckhost’s side surprisingly managed to pick up a 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven on the road. The German youngster Antonio-Colak scored preceded by Walter Benitez’s blunder. The home side goalie’s short pass in the six yard box was cut short by Malik Tillman before he passed it to Antonio Colak who tucked away the ball into the empty net. It was a devastating loss for Ruud Van Nilsterlrooy’s men who were tipped as the favorite.


Rangers’s success to qualify to the group stage was followed by Viktoria Plzen, Dinamo Zagreb, Benfica, FC Copenhagen and the debutant Maccabi Haifa. However, Gers’ chance to advance to the next round is bound to be tougher than expected as they are seeded with Ajax, Napoli and Liverpool in group A. It is undoubtedly one of the group of deaths in the Champions League this season. Interestingly, two teams qualifying from the playoff, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa, are drawn in the same group. They would have to take on two giants, PSG and Juventus.


Meanwhile, two former Bundesliga stars who made their move simultaneously this season, Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland are set to return to their previous club’s home turf as the opposition sides. Lewy will have to face off their ex teammates in Bayern, who seems to be more deadly after his departure, whereas Haaland is bound to meet Dortmund again.


This is the second season in a row for Bayern and Barcelona to be seeded in the same group. This season they are grouped with Inter Milan and Czech Rep’s Viktoria Plzen. It was fairly similar to last season when Die Rotten and Blaugrana were drawn in a tough group alongside Benfica and Dynamo Kiev. Julian Nagelsmann’s side expectedly went through while the Catalan side had to go down to Europa League since they only finished third. Such may happen again if Xavi’s men are unable to snatch three points points against Bayern and Inter.


In the meantime, Haaland is set to have easier path to progress than Lewy. His team, Manchester City are only drawn with Sevilla and FC Copenhagen apart from Dortmund. Pep Guardiola’s side remains the strongest among their contenders in the group and is likely to have no difficulty in sealing the place as a group leader to advance.


The first games will be staged on September 6 and 7. All the matches at this preliminary round are expected to be completed before the kick off in World Cup 2022 in mid November. Here are the eight groups in the Champions League 2022/23 season:


Group A: Ajax, Liverpool, Napoli and Atalanta

Group B: FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge

Group C: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzen

Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon, Marseille

Group E: AC Milan, Chelsea, Red Bull, Dinamo Zagreb

Group F: Real Madrid, RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, Glasgow Celtic

Group G: Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, FC Copenhagen

Group H: PSG, Juventus, Benfica, Maccabi Haifa.