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Aug 29, 2013

City wary of CSKA threat

Manchester City believe CSKA Moscow are a threat to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages for the first time.

The 2012 Premier League winners were drawn with the Russian champions in Group D, which also features Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen.

Bayern, the defending champions, are the favourites to win the group, which could leave City and CSKA competing for second place.

And director of football Txiki Begiristain told Sky Sports News: “We have to be respectful of all the clubs. They are champions of the Russian league and have good players but we have a lot of confidence.”

City have spent almost £90 million this summer on Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo, and have appointed manager Manuel Pellegrini, who took Malaga to the last eight of the Champions League and Villarreal to the semi-finals.

And Begiristain added: “We have improved the team, have a new manager and have enough experience of the Champions League to be strong in the tournament.”

City captain Vincent Kompany added on Twitter: “Interesting draw. Big year for us.”

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was also keen to warn against complacency.

“We especially mustn’t underestimate CSKA Moscow and Manchester City,” he said. “We can take nothing for granted. We have to approach the competition with full focus and great respect.”

Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer added: “This is an attractive group. It’ll be awkward in Moscow, and we mustn’t underestimate Pilsen."

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