Champions League: Inter Milan to Open Against Spurs

Defending champions Inter Milan, with Rafael Benitez now at the helm, will open their UEFA Champions League group stage assignments against playoff qualifier Tottenham Hotspur after the draw was announced on Thursday.

Inter are joined in Group A by German side Werder Bremen and Eredivisie holders Twente. Inter president Massimo Moratti said he was happy with the result of the draw, especially that they were not grouped with nine-time winners Real Madrid, who are now under former Nerazzurri manager Jose Mourinho.

Real were drawn against A.C. Milan for their first match in Group G, which also includes Dutch team Ajax and Ligue 1 side Auxerre. Manchester United will be tested early in Group C, as the three-time European champions were drawn against Scottish champions Rangers. The two giants are joined in the group by Turkey’s Buraspor and La Liga team Valencia.

Group B features 2009-2010 season semifinalists Lyon, Germany’s Schalke, Portugal’s Benefica, and Hapoel Tel Aviv of Israel. La Liga champions Barcelona are in Group D, where they will face Greek side Panathinaikos, F.C. Copenhagen, and Rubin Kazan, current holders of the Russian Premier League.

The first group matches will take place on September 14 and 15. The top two teams of each group will advance to the Round of 16.