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Sir Alex, Inzaghi back Youth League season

The new UEFA Youth League season has arrived with FC Barcelona defending their title in a competition backed by Sir Alex Ferguson and Filippo Inzaghi.

Sir Alex, Inzaghi back Youth League season
Sir Alex, Inzaghi back Youth League season ©UEFA.com

The second season of the UEFA Youth League kicks off on Tuesday with FC Barcelona defending their title and the group stage, once again, mirroring the UEFA Champions League.

Road to Nyon
• The group stage draw was decided by that for the UEFA Champions League, with the matches in this competition being played in the same weeks as the equivalent senior fixtures, often earlier that afternoon.


Matchday 1: 16–18 September
Matchday 2: 30 September–2 October
Matchday 3: 21–22 October
Matchday 4: 4–6 November
Matchday 5: 25–27 November
Matchday 6: 9–11 December

• As in the UEFA Champions League, the top two in each group progress to the knockout phase, which consists of one-off ties with matches going to penalties if level after 90 minutes.

Round of 16
17 February–18 March
• Group winners seeded and play at home against group runners-up (teams from same group/country cannot meet)

• Open draw

Semi-finals and final (Colovray Stadium, Nyon)
The two semi-finals will take place on a (to be confirmed) Friday in spring 2015 at Colovray opposite UEFA's Swiss headquarters. The final will be played on the following Monday and the winners will become the second team to lift the Lennart Johansson Trophy, named after UEFA's honorary president.

Backing from top coaches
Sir Alex Ferguson: "As a coach, you have to embrace the idea of a production line of young players, to give them futures and also to give foundations to your football club. That supply of talent coming into the first team means that if you have a good supply, and you're giving them the proper education to be footballers, and you give them the experience of playing in the [UEFA] Youth League, then you don't need to always go and buy."

Filippo Inzaghi: "The Youth League was an extraordinary experience for the lads and me [last season]. It was a fantastic competition. I hope that it continues as it gave my players the chance to really grow."

The groups
Group A:
Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP), Juventus (ITA), Olympiacos FC (GRE), Malmö FF (SWE)

Group B: Real Madrid CF (ESP), FC Basel 1893 (SUI), Liverpool FC (ENG), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)

Group C: SL Benfica (POR), FC Zenit (RUS), Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER), AS Monaco FC (FRA)

Group D: Arsenal FC (ENG), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Galatasaray AŞ (TUR), RSC Anderlecht (BEL)

Group E: FC Bayern München (GER), Manchester City FC (ENG), PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS), AS Roma (ITA)

Group F: FC Barcelona (ESP, holders), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), AFC Ajax (NED), APOEL FC (CYP)

Group G: Chelsea FC (ENG), FC Schalke 04 (GER), Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR), NK Maribor (SVN)

Group H: FC Porto (POR), FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Athletic Club (ESP), FC BATE Borisov (BLR)

More information can be seen in the competition's official regulations.