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30.08.2007 18:54

Lyon, Stuttgart and Rangers in the Champions League

Sergi Nogueras

Barça have been drawn in Group E of the Champions League together with Olympique Lyon, Stuttgart and Glasgow Rangers.

The draw was held on Thursday afternoon in Monaco alongside the awards for the UEFA club players of the year. As one of the eight top seeded clubs in this year’s competition, Barça can consider themselves slightly unlucky to have been paired with the reigning champions of two of the strongest leagues in Europe: Stuttgart of Germany’s Bundesliga and Lyon from France’s Ligue 1. The fourth side in the group is the always combative Glasgow Rangers from the Scottish Premier League.

Abidal returns to Lyon

PRO_293345_EricAbidal.jpgOlympique Lyon, the former club of Eric Abidal, have initiated a new project under coach Alain Perrin. On the playing side they have managed to hang on the Brazilians Cris, Juninho Pernambucano and Fred, plus plenty of other familiar names such as Reveillere, Toulalan, Kallstrom and young forwards Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema. The club that has dominated French football over the last six seasons has also brought in Italian international Fabio Grosso to replace Abidal at left back.

Bundesliga champion

Stuttgart currently have one of the strongest squads in the Bundesliga. Upfront they have the Brazilians Cacau and Ewerthon – formerly with Zaragoza – and the 22-year-old German striker Mario Gomez, one of the hottest properties in the German league. In midfield they have Turkish international Ildiray Basturk, the Mexican Pavel Pardo and German international Thomas Hitzlesperger.

First time against Rangers

glasgow_novo.jpgThe final side in Group E is Glasgow Rangers, who despite a long history in European competitions have never played a competitive match against FC Barcelona. Rangers have two Spanish players in their squad - defender Carlos Cuéllar and forward Nacho Novo. Cuéllar has recently been signed from Osasuna while Novo is already a well-known figure in Scottish football.
Lyon, Stuttgart and Rangers in the Champions League
Barça matches in the group stage are as follows:

- Wednesday 19th September: FCB v Olympique Lyonnais
- Tuesday 2nd October: Stuttgart v FCB
- Tuesday 23rd October: Rangers v FCB
- Wednesday 7th November: FCB v Rangers
- Tuesday 27th November: Olympique Lyonnais v FCB
- Wednesday 12th December: FCB v Stuttgart

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