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Mancini wary of Manchester City facing Champions League 'Group of Death'

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City could face another fearsomely difficult group in today's Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.

Unlike the other English sides, City have been placed in pot two. This means they could be drawn into a group including Real Madrid, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, the champions of Spain, Italy and Germany respectively.

City will be understandably keen to avoid a repeat of last season when, seeded in pot three, they were put into one of the hardest possible groups, facing Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli. Roberto Mancini's side recorded a respectable total of 10 points but still finished third and did not reach the knock-out round.

This season, with City in pot two, they could face Juventus and Dortmund from pots three and four. They are certain as well to face one of the non-English giants from pot one: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Porto and Milan, although they could not draw both Italian sides.

Celtic are in pot four after they beat Helsingborgs 2-0 at Celtic Park last night to win their play-off 4-0 on aggregate, Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama getting their goals.

The three English teams from pot one cannot draw City but will be wary of Valencia, Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg in pot two. They will also be keen to avoid Juventus and Dortmund, the two teams who contested the 1996 Champions League final. Paris Saint-Germain, the high-spending French side, are also in pot three. While they have struggled so far this season in Ligue 1, no English team would want to face a side containing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Champions League draw details

The draw takes place in Monaco at 5pm this afternoon. Eight groups of four will be drawn: one from each pot, ranked on Uefa co-efficient. Clubs can not be drawn with anyone from their own country. Group matches start on 18 September.

Pot One

Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Porto, Milan

Pot Two

Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kiev

Pot Three

Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris Saint-Germain, Galatasaray, Lille

Pot Four

Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, Malaga, Montpellier, FC Nordsjaelland

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