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Champions League Begiristain confident despite tough group for Man City

Emulating last season's semi-final run is a target for Manchester City despite being drawn in a Champions League group alongside Barcelona.

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Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain hopes the club can reach the final four of the Champions League once more despite being handed a tough group assignment at Thursday's draw in Monaco.

Begiristain, coach Pep Guardiola and an ex-Barcelona contingent at City that now includes freshly signed goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will travel to Camp Nou on October 19 before a return match on November 1 in the middle of their Group C campaign.

City were knocked out in the last 16 by Barca in 2014 and 2015 before a more favourable route helped them to the semi-finals, where they were unable to get past eventual winners Real Madrid last time around.

Borussia Monchengladbach, who the Premier League side battled to a pair of victories against in last season's group stage, and Scottish champions Celtic complete the line-up for a round-robin section Begiristain is relishing.

"It's not a nightmare because we are in a wonderful competition, we are really happy," he told BT Sport.

"It is very, very tough group with Barcelona, Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic – a big game again, no?

"We are happy because we are there. We got to the semi-final last season and we want to be there again."

Begiristain hopes Guardiola's tussles with Gladbach across three seasons as Bayern Munich boss will stand City in good stead although he concedes Celtic – under former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers – represent more of an unknown quantity.

"At least he knows Borussia Monchengladbach very well. Maybe it is not an advantage but at least he knows them," he said.

"Also he knows Barcelona and we are going to explain to him more about Celtic.

"It is an amazing competition and it's going to be an amazing group."

Begiristain added: "Both games were difficult [against Gladbach last season], in Germany and at home. It's going to be again.

"They are a very, very strong side and, of course, Barcelona is always a favourite."

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