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Manchester United will face Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys in the Champions League after the draw for the group stage was made in Istanbul.
United were handed an encouraging after they were put in Pot two as part of UEFA’s new approach to seedings for the group stages, avoiding a potential group of death scenario that could have awaited them.
Pot one contained the winners of the biggest six leagues in Europe last season as well as the reigning Champions League and Europa League winners, which is led to United being handed a replay of last season’s Europa League final.
United were beaten on penalties by Villarreal in Gdansk in May, with the La Liga side winning 11-10 in the shootout after David de Gea missed the only spot-kick among the 22 players. The two teams met in the group stages of the Champions League in 2005/06 and 2008/09 and all four matches finished goalless.
They have never Serie A side Atalanta before but under Gian Piero Gasperini the Bergamo-based side have become one of the most exciting in Europe and they’ve finished third for three successive seasons in Italy.
Swiss champions Young Boys were in the same group as United in 2018/19 when Jose Mourinho’s side ran out 3-0 winners in Switzerland before a 1-0 success at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be aiming to improve on their showing from last season when they exited the competition at the group stage, with their third-place finish dropping them into the Europa League. They finished runners-up in that competition after that final defeat to Villarreal.
United began last season’s competition well, winning in Paris against Paris St-Germain on matchday one but defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and the return against PSG meant they had to avoid defeat at RB Leipzig on the final matchday, only to lose 3-2.7
The schedule for the games will be confirmed by Saturday morning at the latest, but United will open their campaign on either September 14 or 15, with the group stage concluding on December 7 and 8.
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