Champions League draw produces various meetings with familiar faces
Ernesto Valverde returns to Piraeus, Mathieu returns to the Camp Nou and Barça face their victors in last year's edition, Juventus of Turin
FC Barcelona learned on Thursday that they will be in Champions League Group D, playing alongside Juventus of Italy, Olympiacos of Greece and Sporting Lisbon of Portugal.
Old Lady back in town
Juve are, of course, the team that put Barça out of the tournament, 3-0 on aggregate, in the quarter finals last season. The previous meeting between the two sides was a happier affair from a Catalan point of view, Barça winning 3-1 in the 2015 final in Berlin.
Not forgetting also, that the blaugrana and bianconeri also met in the International Champions Cup earlier this season, Barça winning 2-1 in New Jersey.
First official meeting
The team from the third tier of seeding, Olympiacos, is one that Barça have never met before in an official fixture, although they did meet in a couple of friendlies way back in 1962, Barça winning 2-0 in the first and losing 1-0 in the second.
But there is a more recent connection between the teams. FCB boss Ernesto Valverde was also in charge in Piraeus for two separate spells, winning three leagues and two cups.
The other side in the group is Sporting Lisbon, managed by Jorge Jesús, and will be the first encounter between the two clubs since they shared a Champions League group in the 2008/09 season, Barça winning both games by an overall aggregate of 8-3.
Other meetings between the teams have always gone Barcelona’s way: a 3-1 victory at the Gamper Trophy in 1999, a win on away goals after ending 2-2 on aggregate in the 1986/87 UEFA Cup and a 2-1 victory in the Latin Cup final of 1948/49 (2-1).
The game at the Camp Nou will mark the return of Frenchman Jérémy Mathieu to his previous home.