With perennial challengers Lyon and Wolfsburg in pot two, the Women’s Champions League group stage draw was always going to produce some incredible match-ups.
It was not only those two former champions, winners of nine of the last 11 European titles, that would pose problems for those in the top pot either.
Clubs such as Real Madrid and Juventus are also looking to make their mark in Europe, the former among three debutantes in the competition.
So after Monday’s draw decided the four groups, Goal takes a look at the winners and losers….
Having secured their place in the group stages by beating Manchester City, Real Madrid certainly would not have been fazed should they have been drawn in a group with a big hitter from both pot one and pot two.
However, alongside French champions Paris Saint-Germain, they were handed a match-up with the Icelandic outfit Breidablik from the latter quartet, giving them a kind draw which saw them avoid Lyon, Wolfsburg and Arsenal, all of whom are former champions.
With no disrespect to their opponents, Las Blancas’ chances of progressing to the quarter-finals look a lot better on paper than they could have done.
A place in the knockout rounds would be some achievement in their first ever UWCL campaign.
PSG forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto has hit plenty of landmarks and won plenty of awards already in her career, despite being just 22.
She helped the capital club to their first ever league title last year, lifted the Coupe de France in 2018 and has twice been top scorer in the French league, which is no mean feat given it is a division that features an incredible Lyon side and their plethora of elite forwards.
As one of the most talented attacking players in the world, she is starting to make her mark in Europe too, and can push those big names on the continent for the UWCL Golden Boot this season.
With PSG have landed in a group that features Icelandic minnows Breidablik and Kharkiv of the Ukraine, she may get a head start in that race in these group stages.
Arsenal’s draw does not look great of the face of it. After all, they are in the same group as reigning European champions Barcelona.
However, with debutantes Hoffenheim and Koge also in there, it will not be the worst start to life in Europe as the Arsenal boss for Jonas Eidevall.
The Swede has coached in this competition with his previous club, Rosengard, but the expectations will be much higher with the Gunners, who remain the only English women’s side to have been crowned the best team on the continent.
Hoffenheim and Koge will be no pushovers, but to come up against two clubs with no experience in the UWCL will give Eidevall a slight edge as he assimilates to the task of taking Arsenal further in the tournament than they have in recent years, and further than he has been, too.
Last season was one to forget for Lyon. They lost a league title they had won every year since 2007 and a Champions League trophy they had won in each of the last five seasons.
Some wondered if it signalled the end of their time at the top. However, they have had a summer of impressive recruitment, while there is also the highly-anticipated return of the first women’s Ballon d’Or winner, Ada Hegerberg, from injury, to come.
A team so used to winning, they will be incredibly hungry to reclaim their crown.
The talent in their team being so fired up is a daunting prospect for their opponents in Group D, who are Bayern Munich, Hacken and Benfica.
When former Arsenal coach Joe Montemurro was appointed Juventus boss this summer, the first interviews and press conferences discussed the importance of the Italian side improving their UEFA coefficient.
They had a comfortable route to this stage, beating Albania’s Vllaznia, St Polten of Austria and Macedonian side Kamenica Sasa in qualifying.
However, to be put in a group with Chelsea and Wolfsburg will make them slightly more uncomfortable.
Juventus’ coefficient will improve by reaching the groups, but with results likely to be difficult to come by against those two giants, it will not be an easy start for Montemurro as he works towards the club’s long-term ambition.
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