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The Champions League draw is at 5.45pm CET / Photomontage FCB

Barça cannot play any of the other top seeded clubs (Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, PSG, Zenit and PSV), and neither can they meet the four other entrants from La Liga (Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia), but there are plenty of fascinating potential match-ups in the 2015/16 Champions League group stage.

There are five sides in the draw that Barça have never met before (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gent, Malmö and Astana), while they have only played Olympiacos in friendlies and Dinamo Zagreb in the now defunct Fairs Cup. Here’s a look at the twenty clubs Barça could be drawn against  on Thursday in Monaco.

FC Porto

A re-encounter with former keeper Julen Lopetegui, in his second year as manager of the Dragões, and on-loan Barça striker Cristian Tello would be fun. And not forgetting former Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas, who was signed this summer. It’s 16 years since Barça last met Porto in the Champions League, although they did meet in the 2011 Super Cup, the Catalans winning 2-0 with goals from Messi and Cesc Fàbregas.

Arsenal

Against Thomas Vermaelen’s former club and Alexis Sánchez’s present one, this game would of cause bring back memories at that marvellous night in Paris in 2006 when Barça beat the Gunners to win the European crown for the second time. And watch out for Héctor Bellerín, the promising right back who was a youth player at FC Barcelona.

Manchester City

This would be the third season in a row that Barça have faced City in the Champions League. The last two meetings were in the round of 16, with the Catalans winning both legs each time. The big spenders have added Otamendi (Valencia) and Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) to their star-studded squad, and a game with Barça would mean yet another chance for Yaya Touré to return to the Camp Nou.

Olympique Lyonnais

Barça have crossed paths with Olympique three times in the Champions League and have never lost. The last meeting was in the round of 16 in 2009, when the doubts of a 1-1 draw in France were blown away with a 5-2 victory at the Camp Nou. The pick of the current crop include the top scorer in Ligue 1 last season, Alexandre Lacazette, and attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, named French young player of the year.

Dynamo Kyiv

Older Barça fans are still haunted by the memory of 1997, when Andrei Shevchenko ran riot at the Camp Nou, leading his side to a 4-0 victory. The only time the sides have played since was in the 2010 group stage and the outcome was far happier, Barça winning both matches. With Serhiy Rebrov now in charge, Dynamo put an end to five years of Shakhtar Donetsk domination by winning the Ukrainian championship last year.

Olympiacos

La Masia product Alberto Botia might be a familiar face to Barça, but Olympiacos themselves are considerably less so. Surprisingly, the Catalans have never played them in a competitive match, although they did contest a couple of friendlies way back in 1962. Now managed by former Sporting Lisbon boss Marco Silva, Olympiacos claimed their fifth consecutive Greek championship last season.

Galatasaray

Between 1993 and 2002, Barça shared a group with the Turks no fewer than four times and only lost once. The clubs have not met since and if it happens this year it might feel frustrating for ArdaTuran, who due to the FIFA suspension will not be able to play against the club where it all started for him. Galatasaray have signed German striker Lukas Podolski from Arsenal for this season, and also keep an eye out for José Rodríguez, a product of the Real Madrid youth system.

AS Roma

A potential repeat of the Joan Gamper Trophy a few weeks ago, when Barça beat the Italians 3-0. Barça youth product Iago Falqué is in the Roma squad, as is Seydou Keita, who commented before the Gamper that it was nice to return to his former home in what was ultimately just a friendly. A Champions League match would be a very different story, and the first between these sides since 2001.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Barça have played competitive matches against 17 different German teams over the years, more than any other foreign country, but they have yet to face the Champions League debutants. If they finally do, it would be a very special day for Marc-André ter Stegen, who’d be up against his hometown club. The new Bundesliga hasn’t got off to the best of starts for Borussia. They’ve lost their first two games and are currently propping up the table.

Wolfsburg

Barça have never met the side from Lower Saxony before, who had never played a competitive European fixture at all until they made it into the 1999/00 UEFA Cup. This is their second participation in the Champions League group stage after they finished the 2009/10 campaign with just four points. But things are getting better and better under manager Dieter Hecking, and after winning the German Cup last season, Wolfsburg just added the Super Cup by defeating the mighty Bayern.

Gent

Belgian league winners for the first time ever last season, that also meant direct passage to the Champions League group stage – a brand new experience for Gent. The ‘Buffaloes’ have never played Barça before. In fact, no Belgian club has since Club Brugge lost both games in the 2002 group stages. And the last side from Belgium to beat Barça was Anderlecht way back in 1979.

Dinamo Zagreb

Barça played Građanski, who many fans claim was an earlier incarnation of Dinamo, in a series of friendlies back in the 1920s. As Dinamo their only encounter with Barça was in the 1961/62 Fairs Cup, the Catalans winning 7-3 on aggregate. If they are drawn together in the same group, it would mean FCB’s first ever visit to Croatia since it became an independent country.

Malmö

After beating Celtic in the playoffs, Malmö are in the Champions League for the second year in a row and will be hoping to improve on the three points they collected at their first attempt. They’re still waiting for their first ever game with Barça, who haven’t been to Sweden at all since the turn of the century. Their last visit was in 1999 to play, and beat, AIK Solna in the UCL group stage.

Shakhtar Donetsk

Barça have met the Ukrainians three times in the Champions League, but although they romped to a 5-1 win in the 2011 quarter finals, most of the encounters have been tight affairs. As was the 2009 Super Cup, when Pedro’s 115th winner decided a game that looked to be heading for penalties. As usual there’s a strongly Brazilian flavour to Mircea Lucescu’s side, with Alex Teixeira, Taison and Fred three of the men to look out for. 

Maccabi Tel-Aviv

FCB v Maccabi is a classic European tie. But that’s basketball. The two clubs have yet to meet on a soccer pitch and the only Israeli side to ever play Barça in Europe was Hapoel Be'er Sheva, who were thumped 12-0 on aggregate in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup. But Barcelona did return to the Holy Land in 2005 to play in a charity match for peace. A game with Maccabi would also meet a re-encounter with Jordi Cruyff, who is director of sport at the club.

Manchester United

There aren’t many bigger games in European football than Barcelona playing Man United. They are, after all, the two sides that contested the Champions League Finals in 2009 and 2011, with Barça coming out tops both times. They also met even more recently, during Barça’s summer tour of the USA, United winning 3-1 in Santa Clara. And of course the man now in charge at Old Trafford is Louis van Gaal, who was manager at Barça for two separate periods.

Bayer Leverkusen

Barça have met Bayer three times in the Champions League era, but one game stands out above all the others. It was the round of 16 in 2012, when Barça walloped the Germans 7-1 in the second leg, with an amazing Leo Messi getting five goals. Bayer are playing in this season’s Champions League after beating Lazio in the playoffs, and are bidding to make it through to the last sixteen for the third time in a row.

BATE Borisov

They may have won their national league nine times on the trot, but BATE have yet to make it any further than the Champions League group stage. They’re back for another try, and if they play Barça they’ll be hoping to do better than the 5-0 and 4-0 defeats they suffered the first time they met in 2011. And one of the men that would be helping them to do just that is former Barça man Aleksander Hleb, now back plying his trade in his home country.

CSKA Moscow

Barça’s only previous encounter with CSKA was a nightmare. The Dream Team began the defence of their 1992 title with a 1-1 draw in Russia. After Nadal and Begiristain scored early in the second leg, a place in the group stage seemed secure. But CSKA responded with three goals and the Camp Nou faithful shook their heads in disbelief. Joahn Cruyff's side were out. A quarter of a decade later, and after they beat Sporting Lisbon in the playoffs, this is the Muscovites’ third consecutive appearance in the Champions League group stage.

Astana

Of all the different countries Barça could be travelling to this season, Kazakhstan is the only one that they have never been to before. But Luis Enrique’s players could pick up some useful travel tips from the women’s team, who will be in Kazakhstan to play BIIK Kazygurt in October. This is the first time any Kazakh side has made it into the group stages. It’s already been quite an adventure - they have had to beat Maribor of Slovenia, HJK of Finland and APOEL of Cyprus to get this far.

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