Champions League Preview: Valencia
Valencia have finally returned to the Champions League for the first time since Unai Emery but face a difficult challenge following their overhaul by new owner Peter Lim.
Valencia were drawn in what initially looks like a group where they should be able to finish in the top two.
Zenit St Petersburg
Their first match is against Russian side, Zenit St Petersburg. Zenit have been struggling with form this season and currently lie third in the league, six points off leaders CSKA Moscow, who they drew with 2-2 at the weekend.
The Zenit manager, Andres Villas-Boas has already announced that he is leaving the club at the end of the season, partly as a result of the Russian FA’s ruling that limits the amount of foreign players per team. With their tar player Hulk struggling for form, it would appear that now is a good time to play the reigning Russian champions.
Also, in the group are the French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon. They will prove a tricky opponent for Los Che, as they have had a decent start to their league campaign and have one of the hottest young forwards in European football, in the form of Alexandre Lacazette. Not to mention familiar face in former Malaga midfielder Sergi Darder, who joins Rafael, half-Spanish midfielder Mathieu Valbuena and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Finally, there are the Belgian champions, KAA Gent. Having won the Belgian title for the first time in their 115-year history, they will be keen to make a mark on a group in which all four teams will fancy their chances of qualifying the knockout stages.