Champions League draw: Chelsea odds drop as Barcelona remain favourites

Reigning champions Bayern Munich have been pitted against Premier League runners-up Manchester City while Real Madrid will play Serie A winners Juventus in their group
Thursday's Champions League group stage threw up plenty of mouth-watering fixtures - pitting some top teams in tough groups while others had the odds in their favour. As always, the betting odds altered once the draw was made as bookies reacted to the coming eight matchdays.

Champions League Winner
Team Pre-Draw Post-Draw
Barcelona 10/3 3/1
Bayern Munich 7/2 7/2
Real Madrid 11/2 11/2
Chelsea 12/1 10/1
Manchester City 12/1 12/1
Manchester United 14/1 14/1
Paris Saint-Germain 16/1 14/1
Juventus 16/1 16/1
Borussia Dortmund 20/1  25/1
Arsenal 25/1  33/1
Reigning champions Bayern Munich are 7/2 (4.50) to retain the trophy and second favourites overall. Pep Guardiola's new side were drawn alongside Russian champions CSKA Moscow, Czech qualifiers Viktoria Plzen and English giants Manchester City, who are available with BetVictor 12/1 (13.0).

The runners-up last season, Borussia Dortmund, were drawn in a Group F with the ever-present, 33/1 (34.0) Arsenal, Rafa Benitez's 66/1 (67.0) Napoli and France's 200/1 (201.0) competitors Olympique de Marseille.

All four teams in that group have taken a chuncky dents in their odds in what seems to have emerged as the 'Group of Death', although there are some excellent clashes elsewhere in the European draw.

Barcelona, favourites with BetVictor at 3/1 (4.0) have been drawn with familiar foes in Group H - Celtic, who defeated them away from home in the same stage last year, and AC Milan, who they beat in the 2012-13 last 16 round - and Eredivisie winners Ajax.

Another excellent Spanish-Italian match-up is in Group B, where Real Madrid will face back-to-back Scudetto holders Juventus. Carlo Ancelotti's men are 11/2 (6.50) to go one step further after three consecutive semi-final appearances, while the Bianconeri are an outside-punt-of-sorts at 16/1 (17.0). Copenhagen and Galatasaray will be hoping to upset what people expect to be the top two.

Manchester United's group might not stand out as staggeringly hard but Shakhtar Donetsk helped knock out 2011-12 European champions Chelsea out a year ago, Real Sociedad knocked experienced Uefa competitors Olympique Lyonnais out in the play-off and Bayer Leverkusen, who impressed in the Bundesliga last campaign.

The Red Devils saw no change of odds at 14/1 (15.0) following the draw, though Chelsea's value has dropped from 12/1 (13.0) to 10/1 (11.0). following what many are considering an easier draw in the last 32.

Jose Mourinho will target his third Champions League win back at Stamford Bridge but will need to navigate his side around Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucharest.

Another team who have seen their odds fall - from 16/1 (17.0) to 14/1 (15.0) are Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 victors will play Europa League runners-up Benfica, Greek giants Olympiakos and Belgian side Anderlecht, looking to go beyond last year's quarter-final appearance.

The final group is one of the less glamorous of the eight and sees Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg and Austria Vien face off ahead of 2014.

Certainly, Dortmund, Arsenal and Napoli are available at excellent odds for those who are confident in any of the three top European sides, though Group F is definitely a tough group to make it out of.

On the other hand, those looking to back a team that have been drawn in easier groups will no doubt have their eyes on the likes of PSG and Chelsea, while Bayern, Man City, Real Madrid and Juventus will be expected to reach the last 16.

Groups in full

Group A: Man Utd, Shakhtar, Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, Copenhagen
Group C: Benfica, PSG, Olympiakos, Anderlecht
Group D: Bayern, CSKA, Man City,  Viktoria Plzen

Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Dortmund, Napoli
Group G: Porto, Atletico, Zenit, Austria Wien
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

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