Manchester United's group stage opponents for the 2021/22 Champions League campaign have been named, with the Red Devils set to take on Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys in Group F.
United were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage last season after finishing behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They went on to reach the final of the Europa League, but the club needs to be in Europe’s elite competition to fully realise its ambitions.
When does the 2021/22 Champions League group stage begin?
As is traditional, the group stages of the Champions League get underway in mid-September, concluding in the first week of December.
- Matchday one - 14 September - Young Boys vs Manchester United (17:45 - BST)
- Matchday two - 29 September - Manchester United vs Villarreal (20:00 - BST)
- Matchday three - 20 October - Manchester United vs Atalanta (20:00 - BST)
- Matchday four - 2 November - Atalanta vs Manchester United (20:00 - GMT)
- Matchday five - 23 November - Villarreal vs Manchester United (17:45 - GMT)
- Matchday six - 8 December - Manchester United vs Young Boys (20:00 - GMT)
It looks like a good draw for United. They will have the opportunity to exact revenge on Villarreal for last season's Europa League final defeat, and while Atalanta have their strengths, United will be favourites to win the group. Young Boys are the major underdogs.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side qualified for the Champions League after finishing second in the Premier League last season, matching the club’s highest place in the eight years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Their recent record in Europe, primarily the Europa League, actually ensured the club has a strong UEFA club coefficient ranking, meaning they were placed in pot two for the draw and automatically avoided PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
United could also not be drawn against Chelsea or Manchester City, both of whom were in pot one for the draw, because country protection is in place until the latter stages of the competition.