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Bayern prepared for tough group task

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Bayern prepared for tough group task

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:30 pm

24.08.2006 Bayern's trip to the Estadio Camp Nou on Tuesday was billed as a pulse check ahead of this term's Champions League campaign, but a sobering 4-0 defeat against current European top dogs Barcelona indicated why chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and general manager Uli Hoeneß have spent the summer cautioning against expecting too much from the Reds' venture into Europe this season.

"Our target will be to survive the group stage," Rummenigge told fcbayern.de after the game in Catalonia. The identity of Bayern's three first round opponents will be revealed in mid-evening on Thursday when finance chief Karl Hopfner represents the club at the group stage draw starting at 6 pm CET at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

First time in second bowl

On this occasion, Germany's most successful club are not in bowl one, which comprises the eight seeded teams. The Reds have failed to progress further than the quarter-finals over the last five seasons and thus find themselves in bowl two, meaning they could face a re-match with Barca or a tie against any one of AC Milan, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United or Valencia. "Obviously we'll play one massive tie," a relaxed Rummenigge observed.

A total of 32 clubs go into the draw for the Champions League group stage, sorted into four bowls depending on their UEFA club coefficient. The range of opponents Bayern could face includes Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, Girondins Bordeaux, Galatasaray Istanbul, Dynamo Kiev or RSC Anderlecht. Werder Bremen (bowl 3) and Hamburg (bowl 4) cannot be drawn with Munich, as clubs from the same country are prevented from playing in a group with each other.

Final in Athens

Matchday 1 is scheduled for 12 and 13 September, with the Final on 23 May in Athens. "We're not in a position to challenge the top teams in Europe at the moment," Bayern boss Felix Magath admitted after the defeat in Barcelona, "but we'll be in much better shape by the time the Champions League comes around."
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