FC Barcelona now know their Champions League group stage opponents

FC Barcelona now know their Champions League group stage opponents

FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp will be in Group H along with the blaugranes in this season's competition

FC Barcelona now know their three opponents in this season's Champions League group stage. Following Thursday's draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, the three teams who will join the blaugranes are FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp. 

As such, Xavi Hernández's team will face Portuguese, Ukrainian and Belgian opposition in the opening group phase of the competition with the blaugranes - current La Liga champions - keen to improve their recent record in the competition after failing to make it out of the group stage in the last two seasons.

UEFA Champions League 202324 Group Stage Draw (1)_Easy-Resize.com

All three opponents have notable qualities or they simply wouldn't be among the 32 best teams in Europe. Here is a brief look at the other teams in group H:

FC Porto

FC Porto are current Portuguese cup holders and went out in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, with opponents Inter Milan squeezing through before going on to reach the final.

Barça have faced Porto eight times, albeit the last time was back in the 2011 European Super Cup, won 2-0 with Messi and Cesc Fàbregas scoring the goals. Porto coach Sérgio Conceição can count on familiar players like starting Portugal keeper Diogo Costa, veteran defender and former Real Madrid player Pepe, Iranian WC goalscorer Mehdi Taremi, and former blaugrana Nico González, who joined this summer.

Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk are Champions League regulars. The Ukrainian champions will play home matches in Hamburg in Germany due to the impossibility of playing in Ukraine because of the ongoing armed conflict. Barça have faced them nine times before, with Pedro providing a special memory for all culers when he scored to seal the 2009 European Super Cup triumph.

They currently contain a good number of the under-20 World Cup winning side plus a blend of veteran players with experience in the Champions League, like midfielder and captain Taras Stepanenko, and central defenders Rakitsky and former blaugrana Dmitró Chygrynskiy.

UEFA Champions League 202324 Group Stage Draw_Easy-Resize.com

Royal Antwerp

Belgian side Royal Antwerp are the least familiar side but they had a super 22/23 season, winning the league over teams like Bruges and Genk. This will be the first ever game between both sides and they are coached by former blaugrana, Mark van Bommel.

The 2006 European champion is joined by another former blaugrana in technical director Marc Overmars, who has helped arm a very interesting squad. Central defender and captain Toby Alderweireld is the most notable name, having previously played for Atlético Madrid, Tottenham and Ajax. Much travelled striker Vincent Janssen is their main threat up front, having scored 26 goals in 52 games for the Belgian side so far.

CL debut at Estadi Lluís Companys

The group stage will see the blaugranes face three home games and three away games before Christmas with the Estadi Lluís Companys set to host Champions League football for the very first time in its history.

Joan Soler's thoughts on the draw

The blaugrana party that travelled to Monaco included Joan Soler, the director responsible for youth football, who gave the following assessment on the draw and the Club's aims, "we want to go deep into the Champions League, but we have the utmost respect for our opponents. The aim is to get through the group stage because we didn't manage it a couple of years ago. It won't be easy though. The aim is always to win everything. We will give it our best and see what happens".

Here is the Champions League group stage draw in full:

Group A: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Copenhagen, Galatasaray 

Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Lens 

Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin  

Group D: Benfica, Internazionale, Salzburg, Real Sociedad 

Group E: Feyenoord, Atlético Madrid, Lazio, Celtic   

Group F: Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle 

Group G: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Crvena zvezda, Young Boys 

Group H: FC Barcelona, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp 

Força Barça
Força Barça

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