Clermont backs coach Franck Azema believes his team have been drawn in the toughest Heineken Cup pool.
Having been grouped with Leinster last term and Ulster and Leicester the season before, last season's runners-up have another tough assignment.
Les Jaunards face fellow French side Racing Metro's expensively-assembled team on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday before hosting English heavyweight Harlequins a week later. Travelling to Scarlets will not be a walk in the park either.
"We have the toughest pool," said Azema, who will take over from Vern Cotter as Clermont head coach next season.
"Right from the draw, we saw this was the hardest pool in the competition. Racing have everything needed to be a big European club and a playmaker that has won two titles in recent years.
"I'm sure Jonathan Sexton will be very much involved in their strategy and can bring a lot to the team in this competition, especially against to us.
"This will be a very complicated start for us, because everyone knows that the points lost in this competition will never be caught up.
"Harlequins are also a formidable unit that does well in this competition. After that we'll have to negotiate back-to-back clashes with Scarlets. Frankly, this pool is has nothing to envy to that of last year."