An intriguing series of games is in prospect in Group D with nine-times European champions Real Madrid grouped with English champions Manchester City, Dutch league winners Ajax Amsterdam and German champions Borussia Dortmund.

Reigning champions Chelsea face former winners Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine and Danish newcomers FC Nordsjaelland in the group stage of this season's competition following Thursday's draw.

Bayern Munich, who lost to Chelsea in last season's Champions League final and were runners-up to Dortmund in the Bundesliga, will face Valencia, Lille and BATE Borisov of Belarus in Group F.

Barcelona, the strong favourites last year until they lost to Chelsea in the semi-finals, face their old rivals Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic.

The competition starts on September 18-19 and the final is at Wembley on May 25.

Champions League Group draw:

Group A
FC Porto (Portugal), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)

Group B
Arsenal (England), Schalke (Germany), Olympiakos (Greece), Montpellier (France)

Group C
AC Milan (Italy), Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Anderlecht (Belgium), Malaga (Spain)

Group D
Real Madrid (Spain), Manchester City (England), Ajax (Netherlands), Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

Group E
Chelsea (England), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Juventus (Italy), Nordsjaelland (Denmark)

Group F
Bayern Munich (Germany), Valencia (Spain), Lille (France), BATE Borisov (Belarus)

Group G
Barcelona (Spain), Benfica (Portugal), Spartak Moscow (Russia), Glasgow Celtic (Scotland)

Group H
Manchester United (England), Braga (Portugal), Galatasaray (Turkey), Cluj (Romania)

Source: Agencies