August 29, 2013 / 7:13 PM / 4 years ago

Soccer-Reaction to Champions League draw

MONTE CARLO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Groups and reactions following the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday.

Group A - Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

Manchester United club secretary John Alexander: “Shakhtar is an interesting trip for anybody at any time of the year ... It’s a great atmosphere, they have a terrific home record which obviously we’ll be doing our best to overcome. But all in all it’s a very exciting group to be in.”

Group B - Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen

Group C - Benfica, Paris St Germain, Olympiakos Piraeus, Anderlecht

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi: “Approachable draw but the Champions League is a unique competition, we’ll have to be careful.”

PSG right back Gregory Van der Wiel: “Good draw for us I think! Looking forward to the games.”

Group D - Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: “We have to go into the competition with a lot of respect and a lot of focus from the very start. We have to be especially careful not to underestimate CSKA Moscow and Manchester City. This will not be an automatic qualification but our aim is to make the knockout stage.”

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany: “Interesting draw. Big year for us.”

Group E - Chelsea, Schalke 04, Basel, Steaua Bucharest

Schalke 04 sports director Horst Heldt: “The starting position in this group is clear. Chelsea are the top favourites and the other three teams will battle it out for second spot.”

Group F - Arsenal, Olympique Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo: “We do some sports to feel emotions and with these three opponents we are certain to have some. We have pleasure as well as difficulty ahead of us. We are going to try to be some itching powder in the group but we can’t say it’s an easy one.”

Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp: “This is a brilliant, balanced group with four teams who have what it takes to survive the group stage. (The) fact is we have to get something to put right against Arsenal and we have something to put right against Marseille. I have not been to Napoli but I am already looking forward to the atmosphere there.”

Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon: “In this tournament, there are incredible clubs. We are in a really complicated group, but our aim is to overcome this group.”

Group G - Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna

Austria Vienna coach Nenad Bjelica: “I wanted to face a Spanish team, so I‘m happy we got Atletico.”

Group H - Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Celtic

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi: “You don’t get any easy groups in the Champions League. We played Milan and Celtic last season. It’s a beautiful group.”

AC Milan vice-president Umberto Gandini: “Before the draw, I was close to Barcelona president Rosell. He said that it would be Barcelona-Milan again, and so it is. It is a well-known group, with prestigious stadia, historical ones, with teams who have already won the Champions League.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: “I think it’s the best and the worst draw we could have got! In terms of glamour it doesn’t come any better but it’s the most difficult we could have got. There’s a lot of excitement. In terms of travelling for supporters it’s great. Three great footballing arenas with fantastic pedigree. Locking horns again with Barcelona, there’s so much to savour. It’s going to be extremely difficult.”

Ajax Amsterdam manager Frank de Boer: “I‘m satisfied. We are up against three fantastic teams. We’ve never played against Barcelona. It is going to be great for the fans.” (Reporting by Brian Homewood; Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Gregory Blachier; Editing by Ken Ferris and Sonia Oxley)

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