The UEFA Champions League has already defined its groups and Lionel Messi's Paris Saint-Germain will face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in what will be one of the most outstanding duels of the first phase. RB Leipzig and Brugge will also be in the group.
The first to be drawn was Manchester City, who would be the top seeded team in Group A. Then the other seeds were determined, but when the second round kicked off, the morbidity grew. Paris Saint-Germain, with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mbappé, will face none other than the last Champions League finalist, DT Guardiola's City.
Of course, the match between PSG and City has an added spice since, last season, the Manchester giants denied the Parisians the chance to reach their second consecutive Champions League final. It will be a great opportunity to enjoy the meeting between Lionel Messi and his former Barcelona coach.
The third member of the group is Germany's RB Leipzig, which is making its third appearance in Europe's top competition. The Germans were the sensation of the 2019/2020 Champions League where they reached the semifinals by eliminating Tottenham and Diego Simeno's Atlético de Madrid. In last year's edition, on the other hand, they reached the round of 16 in 2020/21.
Leipzig, the new team that grew up very quickly
RB Leipzig was officially established on May 19, 2009 and took over SSV Markranstädt's place in the Oberliga Nordost Süd. Their start was inevitably to be in one of the lower ranks of German soccer, but from the outset the goal was to reach the Bundesliga.
Since then, under Ralph Hasenhüttl and again under Rangnick, they have been one of the leading teams in the German championship. With aggressive tactics, they managed to finish as runners-up to champions FC Bayern München in their first year in the top flight. And they have even had the pleasure of playing in the UEFA Champions League.
In fact, they have qualified for European competitions three years in a row. As of the 2019/20 season, the first team will be coached by one of the best young DTs in the world: Julian Nagelsmann. In his first season, Nagelsmann fought at the top of the table for the Bundesliga title (behind Bayern and BVB) and has become the first RB Leipzig coach to place his team in the top 16 and subsequently in the top eight in Europe.
RB Leipzig, on the other hand, appears as an unknown rival for Messi since he never faced them in continental competitions. Thus, the team coached by Jesse Marsch will be a novelty for Messi. The same happens with Brugge of Belgium, another unknown opponent for the Argentine, who will have the opportunity to add two clubs to the long list of rivals he has scored goals against.
The unsuspecting might think that RB Leipzig is a small club but under the wing of Red Bull, the giant that has been sponsoring it for some time and that, by dint of millions, managed to take it to the top of Europe and to play its third consecutive Champions League.
This is the fourth club to be bought by the Austrian company, which also owns a Formula 1 team and is active in several extreme sports. The others are Salzburg, New York and Bragantino. And it came to the Bundesliga in 2006, thanks to a recommendation from Franz Beckenbauer to his billionaire friend and owner of the firm, Dietrich Mateschitz. Yes, although it is not yet on a par with Manchester United, PSG or the last champions of the Old Continent, Chelsea, it can be said that the German team is one of the nouveau riche of world soccer.
Brugge: Belgian team will be looking for a surprise
The fourth opponent that PSG and Lionel Messi will face in Group A is a much more classic team, Brugge of Belgium. The club based in the magical city seems to arrive in inferior conditions. According to the Transfer Market website, the Belgian club has a price tag of 122 million dollars.
After 16 years, Lionel Messi will play his first Champions League with a shirt that will not be that of Barcelona. According to his own words, it seems the ideal place to win it again: "PSG and I have the same objectives, I came to the ideal place to win the Champions League again," said Messi on his arrival in Paris. The Argentine left the club of his life to join a team that so far has Mbappé, Sergio Ramos and Neymar. With those names, The Champions League dream should be able to be fulfilled.