Portsmouth draw Milan, Villa face Jol’s Hamburg and City meet McClaren’s FC Twente
Redknapp’s plans to play the reserves might need altering
While all four still stand a strong chance of progressing, the Premier League’s UEFA Cup hopefuls Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Tottenham and Manchester City all drew interesting group stage opposition.
Harry Redknapp spoke about fielding reserves in some games but may rethink that policy when they clash with overwhelming tournament favourites AC Milan while Aston Villa will be challenged by Martin Jol’s Bundesliga table-toppers Hamburg and Marco van Basten’s Ajax.
Tottenham drew two teams whose star players they raided this summer – Luka Modric’s former side Dinamo Zagreb and Roman Pavlyuchenko’s old club Spartak Moscow while Manchester City will face off against Steve McClaren’s FC Twente in one of the toughest groups.
The good news for the Premier League representatives were that all four avoided Sevilla, Valencia and Standard Liege, who are three of the top four non-English clubs in the betting. The full draw is after the jump.
GROUP A: Schalke 04, Paris SG, MANCHESTER CITY, Racing Santander, FC Twente
GROUP B: Benfica, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, Metalist Kharkiv
GROUP C: Sevilla, VfB Stuttgart, Sampdoria, Partizan Belgrade, Standard Liege
GROUP D: TOTTENHAM, Spartak Moscow, Udinese, Dinamo Zagreb, NEC Nijmegen
GROUP E: AC Milan, Heerenveen, SC Braga, PORTSMOUTH, VfL Wolfsburg
GROUP F: Hamburg, Ajax, Slavia Prague, ASTON VILLA, MSK Zilina
GROUP G: Valencia, Club Brugge, Rosenborg, FC Copenhagen, Saint-Etienne
GROUP H: CSKA Moscow, Deportivo La Coruna, Feyenoord, Nancy, Lech Poznan