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Madrid targeting perfect ten

Published: Thursday 26 August 2004, 17.29CET
Groups A-D reaction: Real Madrid CF can start plotting a tenth title after Thursday's draw. features

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Published: Thursday 26 August 2004, 17.29CET

Madrid targeting perfect ten

Groups A-D reaction: Real Madrid CF can start plotting a tenth title after Thursday's draw.
Real Madrid CF now know their first opponents as they seek a tenth European Champion Clubs' Cup while former title-holders FC Bayern München, Juventus FC and AFC Ajax meet in one of the toughest sections. rounds up the draw reaction from Groups A-D.

Group A
RC Deportivo La Coruña, Liverpool FC, AS Monaco FC, Olympiacos CFP

There are no easy groups in this competition, you know you are not going to be given an easy run at this stage. At least we have avoided the big guns like Bayern or AC Milan. Now the hard work begins and we will have to call on all our strength to make sure we progress from the group stage. Deportivo midfield player Mauro Silva

We have avoided the big clubs but the big clubs are not necessarily the best clubs as we saw last season in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. We're just delighted, though, to be back in the competition. There is a Spanish connection with us playing Deportivo and I'm sure [coach] Rafa [Benítez] will know them inside out. We will treat everybody with respect but not fear." Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry

Liverpool are always difficult but it is a good draw. We will try to qualify but it will not be easy. It will be great to play Liverpool in such a formidable stadium. Of course, we will try to repeat our achievements of last season but it will be difficult. Monaco coach Didier Deschamps

All the teams in our group are rivals. They are very good and they have a reputation in Europe. But if we play to the best of our abilities, we have nothing to fear. Our team is experienced and our players have been playing this competition for many years. Monaco and Deportivo are very powerful and technical teams. As for Liverpool, it is a club with a strong name but the squad itself is young. Olympiacos coach Dusan Bajevic

Group B
Real Madrid CF, AS Roma, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Dynamo Kyiv

I am confident that we will pass through the group stage. We are quite happy with the calendar - we start in Germany and that is going to be a very important game, the next two games we play at home against Roma and Dynamo Kyiv so by the third game we will want to be in a good position. It is not going to be easy - but Madrid is Madrid and we must get through the group stage. Madrid sports manger Emilio Butragueño

We have played several times against Real Madrid in recent years. It is nothing new for us. We know how to win at the Santiago Bernabéu and they know how to win in Rome. It's difficult to face Dynamo Kyiv so early in the season because they are in the middle of their domestic league, while we only start on 12 September. Bayer Leverkusen have returned to a great level after a difficult 2002/03 season. It's certainly a difficult group. Roma director of sport Franco Baldini

It is an extremely tough group, but we all wanted to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and knew what to expect. We definitely aren't the favourites to qualify for the next round in a group with Real and Roma, but anything can happen in football. Leverkusen coach Klaus Augenthaler

It is impossible to expect to come up against weak or even average opponents in the Champions League group stage. This stage puts European football's finest together. We are preparing ourselves for tough matches and will fight to progress. Who are the favourites? Remembering last year's Champions League and UEFA EURO 2004™, we won't know until the action starts. Dynamo coach Jozef Szabo

Group C
FC Bayern München, Juventus FC, AFC Ajax, Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC

Looking at the teams that qualified we knew there would be no such thing as an easy group. We have been handed a very interesting group and we will have to concentrate and play good football in order to reach the last 16. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

It's very nice to meet Bayern for the first time in our history. It will be a pleasure to face a club with such a great tradition in Europe. We have faced Ajax in the European Cup final twice, losing in 1973 and winning in 1996. It will be another great tie. We have no problem in travelling to Israel to face Maccabi as UEFA has taken all possible safety precautions. Juventus vice-president Roberto Bettega

I would say that, in theory, Juventus are favourites and Bayern and Ajax are equally matched, with Maccabi as the outsiders. So the key will be the matches against Bayern, but that is all on paper, surprises can happen in real life. I am glad we will meet some new teams we have not met before and that is interesting. Ajax coach Ronald Koeman

Looking at the calibre of the opposition could give you a headache. But at the same time we wanted to play against the big teams and we were pitted against the biggest of the lot. We have no intention of lying down and letting them walk all over us. We are in this competition to win matches and this is exactly what we intend to do Maccabi coach Nir Klinger

Group D
Manchester United FC, Olympique Lyonnais, AC Sparta Praha, Fenerbahçe SK

It's a very interesting draw. We have drawn two clubs we have never played before: Lyon and Sparta Prague. There is some travel involved, but it could have been a lot worse. There were some long trips in the draw. So I am happy the way the draw turned out. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

I am happy to have drawn new teams, different from those we have faced in the past. We're pleased to end our campaign at home like last year. The group is competitive. We start against Manchester and we will have four days' rest after our league game. It is a good thing even if they will have their injured players back. Our target is to reach the next round and even the quarter-finals. Lyon coach Paul Le Guen

I am a lucky man. After playing at Old Trafford, I can finish my career a happy man. Sparta goalkeeper Jaromír Blazek

There are no easy or tough groups in the Champions League. Our target is to advance from the group stage. We already know the power of Manchester United and Lyon. We may also add Sparta among them. Everyone saw the Czech Republic's outstanding performance at EURO 2004™. Fenerbahçe vice-president Nihat Özdemir

Last updated: 26/08/04 22.05CET

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