Manchester United are back in the Champions League this season.

United will learn their group stage opponents at the draw scheduled to take place on Thursday 1 October in Nyon, Switzerland.

In terms of seeding, Pot 1 is reserved for domestic champions and the Europa League winners, so United are in Pot 2.

Of the sides in Pot 1, Liverpool are the only ones United cannot be drawn against, because teams from the same country are kept apart until the quarter-final stage.

There are some big hitters in Pot 1 that United could be drawn against. Holders Bayern Munich lurk there, alongside Juventus and Real Madrid, who knocked us out in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final ever European encounter.

Beaten 2019/20 finalists Paris Saint-Germain could await, which would conjure memories of the epic 3-1 comeback victory at Parc des Princes in 2019.

A swift reunion with Sevilla could be on the cards, with Zenit and Porto most likely the gentlest draws United could receive next month.

Manchester United Training Session
(Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Donny van de Beek will not get a group stage reunion with Ajax, as they slot in alongside us in Pot 2.

Also in Pot 2 are Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as Barcelona, who knocked us out 4-0 on aggregate in 2019.

 

We’ll also dodge Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, which might be just as well after a summer-long off-field battle with the Germans over Jadon Sancho.

Shakhtar Donetsk round off the list of sides United can’t face, but there are some dangerous opponents potentially lurking in Pot 3 or 4.

FBL-EUR-C1-LEIPZIG-TOTTENHAM
(John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pots 3 and 4 to be determined

Those pots are not finalised yet, with the qualification process which will confirm the six final group stage participants still ongoing.

The teams competing in that long-winded format include Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club Molde, who face Qarabag tonight.

The most dangerous of the confirmed Pot 3 or 4 opponents are probably RB Leipzig, beaten 2020 semi-finalists and home of reported United target Dayot Upamecano.

High-octane 2020 quarter-finalists Atalanta may also lie in wait, and a reunion with Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young at Inter is also a possibility.

Facing Antonio Conte’s side in last season’s Europa League final almost looked written in the stars before United’s unfortunate semi-final loss to Sevilla.

Perhaps United will come face-to-face with those three former faces at Europe’s top table instead.

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