The Champions League draw has been finalised. Here's a preview for Group E:
1. Bayern Munich
2. Manchester City
3. AS Roma
4. CSKA Moscow
Bayern Munich (Soccer Power Index (SPI) chance to advance: 90.6 percent)
In the second year of the Pep Guardiola project, Bayern look to regain their 2013 crown after being punished 5-0 on aggregate by eventual champs Real Madrid in the semifinals last season. Despite losing Toni Kroos to Real, and Javi Martinez to injury, their arrivals have added proven strength and experience: Medhi Benatia, Robert Lewandowski and shortly, according to reports, Xabi Alonso. It is a tougher group this year, but Guardiola will demand and expect first place.
Manchester City (SPI: 72.4 percent)
City and Bayern are acquainted for the third season in the Blues' four campaigns in this competition. Despite being dismantled at Eastlands last year, had Manuel Pellegrini got his sums correct, City might even have won their group if they had scored one goal in the final match in Munich. Having reached the last 16 for the first time in 2013-14, they will expect to go through again, even if Roma might be a difficult proposition. The aim is the last eight, but first things first.
Champions League group stage
A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo
B: Real Madrid, Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets
C: Benfica, Zenit, Leverkusen, Monaco
D: Arsenal, Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht
E: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Roma
F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL
G: Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting, Maribor
H: Porto, Shakhtar, Athletic Bilbao, BATE
AS Roma (SPI: 26.6 percent)
They were probably the team that all the seeds feared to pull from the bottom pot. Rudi Garcia is carving himself out a reputation as one of the game's most talented coaches and, though Kevin Strootman is injured and Mehdi Benatia has gone to Bayern, they are a distinct threat to anyone, through strong defending and a strong midfield. It will be a pleasure to see Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti back in this competition.
CSKA Moscow SPI: 10.4 percent)
A near-miracle of chance sees the Russians face two of the same opponents they played in last season's group stage. As ever, a visit to Moscow is a daunting challenge for even the most storied opponents, but CSKA still do not have the quality to present too much of a problem to the group's big boys. Last place beckons for them.