The group stage fixtures are out and matchday one could hardly be more appetising with Real Madrid CF entertaining Manchester City FC in a star-studded Group D.
Hot on the heels of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco earlier today, UEFA has issued the fixture list for the entire 32-team phase of the competition, which runs from September to December.
The 2012/13 UEFA Champions League will begin in earnest with matchday one of the group stage on 18/19 September – and with a number of fixtures that fairly leap off the page. Perhaps the standout game on the Tuesday is the Group D encounter between the champions of Spain and England, Real Madrid CF v Manchester City FC, at the Santiago Bernabéu. The opening-night buzz should be further amplified in another cathedral of European football, the Westfalenstadion, where the German and Dutch title holders meet in the same group: Borussia Dortmund v AFC Ajax.
Taking top billing on the Wednesday, meanwhile, are heavyweight bouts involving last season's two finalists. Trophy winners Chelsea FC will play host to Italian champions Juventus at Stamford Bridge in Group E. Runners-up FC Bayern München welcome Valencia CF in a Group F themed repeat of the 2001 UEFA Champions League final which – in contrast to events at the Fußball Arena München in May – the German side won on penalties.
The other five matchdays are scheduled for 2/3 October, 23/24 October, 6/7 November, 20/21 November and 4/5 December, with eight games taking place on each night of the matchweek.
Click here for a complete fixture list.