The UEFA Champions League begins its group stage this week, and it’s fair to say the draw set us up for some real treats.
Groups A-D get us started on Tuesday, a batch which includes one of the deepest groups in the tournament.
[ MORE: JPW’s UCL predictions ]
That’s Group C, which finds Celtic rudely welcomed back into the group stage of the UCL with Barcelona, Manchester City, and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Lionel Messi is expected back for Barcelona as they open by hosting Brendan Rodgers and Celtic. The Scottish champions are coming off a morale-building 5-1 destruction of Old Firm rivals Rangers, while Barca was stung by recently promoted Alaves.
The other fixture in the group is Man City‘s hosting of USMNT wide man Fabian Johnson and Borussia Monchengladbach in what will be a tactical face-off between Pep Guardiola and Andre Schubert.
Captain Lars Stindl and ‘Gladbach are a disciplined side with plenty to like in Raffael, Christoph Kramer, and Josip Drmic, but Raheem Sterling is hoping to continue his fine play as a response to “unfair criticism” from his first year at City.
The other Premier League side set for a Tuesday match is Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger admitted that he’s feeling good about his club’s chances as they open the group stage against Paris Saint-Germain. PSG is led by new coach Unai Emery, who led Sevilla to three-successive UEFA Europa League crowns. Zlatan Ibrahimovic may no longer be with the Parisien set, but Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, Jese, Hatem Ben Arfa… yeah, they’re good.
Tuesday’s Champions League schedule
All games at 2:45 p.m. EDT
Arsenal at Paris Saint-Germain
Borussia Monchengladbach at Manchester City
Atletico Madrid at PSV Eindhoven
Napoli at Dynamo Kyiv
Celtic at Barcelona
Rostov at Bayern Munich
Ludogorets at FC Basel
Besiktas at Benfica