DATES LEARNED FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP FIXTURES

Posted on: Thu 30 Aug 2012

We now know when we will be facing Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and FC Nordsjælland in Group E of the Champions League.

We begin our defence of the trophy on Wednesday September 19 at home to Juventus, with our first away game on October 2 against FC Nordsjælland.

Group stage fixtures in full

Wednesday September 19 - Juventus (h)

Tuesday October 2 - FC Nordsjælland (a)

Tuesday October 23 - Shakhtar Donetsk (a)

Wednesday November 7 - Shakhtar Donetsk (h)

Tuesday November 20 - Juventus (a)

Wednesday December 5 - FC Nordsjælland (h)

There are first meetings with Ukrainian and Danish champions Shakhtar and FC Nordsjælland for the Blues, though Italian champions Juventus were opponents in the first knockout round back in 2009.

On that occasion we were narrow winners at home before a 2-2 draw in Turin sent us through to the quarter-finals.

Shakhtar play at the impressive Donbass Arena, which was a key feature of Euro 2012, hosting England's games against France and Ukraine, as well as the quarter-final between Spain and France, and the semi that saw Spain sneak past Portugal on penalties. Chelsea club doctor Paco Biosca joined us from the Ukrainian club last summer.

Juventus return to European competition as Serie A winners, and were unbeaten last season. Since our last meeting in 2009, they have returned to their home, the Stadio Delle Alpi, which has been rebuilt with the running track removed, and renamed the Juventus Stadium. Its capacity is 41,000.

FC Nordsjælland are first-time Danish champions, and based just outside Copenhagen. Their stadium is a little over 10,000 capacity, and so they will play their home games at Parken in Copenhagen, home of the Danish national team. Their squad includes Andreas Laudrup,the nephew of former Chelsea winger Brian, and son of Swansea manager Michael.

Reacting to the draw, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard said: 'Shakhtar Donetsk are well organised, but we don't know much about them in turns of playing them before. Juventus we played in 2009 in the last 16 and we came out on top but since then they have new owners and have moved on so it will be a difficult tie. FC Nordsjaelland are an unknown quantity.'

The complete draw is:

Group A
Porto
Dynamo Kiev
Paris Saint-Germain
Dinamo Zagreb

Group B
Arsenal
Schalke
Olympiacos
Montpellier

Group C
AC Milan
Zenit St Petersburg
Anderlecht
Malaga

Group D
Real Madrid
Manchester City
Ajax
Borussia Dortmund

Group E
Chelsea
Shakhtar Donetsk
Juventus
FC Nordsjælland

Group F
Bayern Munich
Valencia
Lille
BATE Borisov

Group G
Barcelona
Benfica
Spartak Moscow
Celtic

Group H
Manchester United
Braga
Galatasaray
CFR Cluj