Champions League Group F: Did you know?

Champions League Group F: Did you know?

Thursday's draw has produced a series of re-encounters involving different players and clubs
  • Barça will start their campaign at home. They begin Group F by entertaining APOEL Nicosia and will also end the group at the Camp Nou, when they face second seeded Paris Saint-Germain.

  • Two recent meetings with Paris Saint Germain. This will be Barça’s third meeting with the side from the French capital in recent times. Rafinha and Leo Messi both scored in a preseason friendly in 2012, and later in that season, the two sides met again, this time in the Champions League quarter finals.

  • Back to Amsterdam. In last season’s group stage, Barça’s opponents also included Ajax Amsterdam. They won comfortably at the Camp Nou, 4-0, but were beaten 2-1 in Holland.

  • First visit to Cyprus in 18 years. Being drawn with APOEL Nicosia means Barça are off to the Eastern Mediterranean country for the first time since beating AEK Larnaca in the opening round of the 1996/97 Cup Winners Cup.

  • APOEL’s third appearance in the groups. Their best showing in Europe’s premier club competition was in 2011/12, when they went all the way to the quarter finals, eventually being knocked out by Real Madrid.

  • Vermaelen and Luis Suárez return to Amsterdam. Both the Belgian and the Uruguayan played for the Dutch side earlier in their careers. Vermaelen spent four years there from 2005 to 2009, before leaving for Arsenal. His time at Ajax overlapped with that of Luis Suárez, who was there for four seasons, from 2007 to 2011, before also switching to the Premier League, in his case to Liverpool.

  • Luis Suárez set to start against Ajax. And it will be against his former club that the Uruguayan striker could make his first Champions League appearance in his new jersey. By November 5, when Barça are due to travel to Amsterdam, his suspension will have been served, although he will have to sit out the first three games in Group F.

  • Home to the Camp Nou. Vermaelen and Luis Suárez may be going back to Amsterdam, but for others the draw means they’ll get the chance to return to Barcelona. Ibrahimovic, Maxwell and Motta of PSG all have a Barça past. The Swede was here for just one season, 2009/10, while Maxwell was an FCB player for three seasons and made 57 first team appearances. His compatriot Motta was a product of the Barça youth system, and was at the club for six years, spending some of that time under Luis Enrique at Barça B. And not forgetting Belgium-born Spaniard Urko Pardo, who was at La Masia for eight years and formed part of the same generation as Messi and Iniesta. After periods in both Greece and Romania, he joined APOEL in 2011.

  • Managers with an FCB past. Two of the three rival managers in Group F will be more than familiar with FC Barcelona. Laurent Blanc and Frank de Boer both spent part of their playing careers at the club. Paris Saint-Germain’s current manager played under Bobby Robson in the 1996/97 season, while Ajax’s de Boer was a hugely popular player during his time at FCB between 1998 and 2003.


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