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Reigning champions Barcelona and returning giants Manchester United were dealt favorable hands in the Champions League draw in Monaco Thursday. Barca's quest to become the first team to retain the European crown began smoothly as Lionel Messi and company were paired with Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and BATE Borisov in Group E.United grace the competition after a year's absence and coach Louis van Gaal, who said he preferred to watch a United reserve side in action than proceedings from the Principality, will be more than happy with the three-time winners' Group B sparring partners PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg.Bayern and Arsenal have met twice in the last-16 in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 with the German giants winning on both occasions.The first round gets underway on Sept. 15 and concludes next May at Milan's San Siro which last held the final in 2001, with Bayern Munich beating Valencia on penalties.
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