Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan both had favorable draws come their way, with Schalke and Anderlecht drawn into manageable groups for the the UEFA Champions League this season.
Kljestan and Anderlecht, which finished last in its Champions League group last season and is not a favorite to make a push for glory in Europe's top competition, were drawn into a group that on paper gives the club a real chance at advancing to the knockout rounds.
Group C consists of Benfica, PSG and Olympiakos along with Kljestan's Belgian club. The odds will still be long on Anderlecht making it out of the group, but the club managed to avoid a Group of Death scenario.
Jones and Schalke also pulled a favorable group, with Chelsea, Steaua Bucharest and Basel the other three teams in Group E.
Schalke, which won its group last season and advanced to the Round of 16, will be favored for one of the top two spots in the group along with Chelsea, although Basel's deep Europa League run last season is enough to put both of the bigger clubs on notice that nothing will come easy.
Jones will be forced to miss Schalke's first group match after receiving a red card in the second leg of the club's playoff round victory over PAOK.