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Saturday, August 29, 1998 Published at 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK

Sport: Football

United drawn against Euro giants

United chairman Martin Edwards and manager Alex Ferguson

Manchester United face a tough task if they are to qualify from the Champions' League for the third season in a row.

The Old Trafford side have been drawn against two of the giants of European football, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, along with Peter Schmeichel's former team, Brondby of Denmark.

On paper Premiership title-holders Arsenal have been placed in a much more straightforward group.

The Gunners must play surprise French champions Lens, Ukranian side Dynamo Kiev and Greek club Panathinaikos.

[ image: Bergkamp: Grounded for long away trips]
Bergkamp: Grounded for long away trips
But the bad news for Arsenal is that Dennis Bergkamp - who suffers from a chronic fear of flying - will not be able to travel to the away games in Greece and the Ukraine.

Arsenal kick off their campaign on September 16 at Lens, while United are at home to Barcelona on the same night.

United director Peter Kenyon said of his club's draw: "It is certainly one of the tougher groups but there are no easy games in a competition like this and you have to beat the big-name clubs at some time in the competition.

"Many of the so-called easy games can often turn out to be the most difficult."

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood was pleased with the outcome: ""I think the draw is as good as we could have hoped for.

"We certainly have a good chance of doing well in the competition."

Draw for European Champions' League:

Group A: Ajax Amsterdam (Ned), Porto (Por), Olympiakos (Gre), Croatia Zagreb (Cro).

Group B: Galatasaray (Tur), Athletic Bilbao (Spa), Rosenborg (Nor), Juventus (Ita).

Group C: Spartak Moscow (Rus), Real Madrid (Spa), Inter Milan (Ita), Sturm Graz (Aut).

Group D: Barcelona (Spa), Brondby (Den), Bayern Munich (Ger), Manchester United (Eng).

Group E: Dynamo Kiev (Ukr), Lens (Fra), Arsenal (Eng), Panathinaikos (Gre).

Group F: Benfica (Por), PSV Eindhoven (Ned), HJK Helsinki (Fin), Kaiserslautern (Ger)

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