The calendar may read October, but this year’s Champions League is practically only just getting started. After yesterday’s last few qualifying matches, we now know all 32 participants of the group stage, the draw for which will be conducted in just a few short hours.
As usual, UEFA will broadcast it live with the draw officially starting at 5pm local time in Geneva (16.00 BST on BT Sport 1 in the UK, or 11am EDT on CBS All Access streaming or TUDN on TV in the USA).
The rules are pretty much the same as before regarding associations and such, with Chelsea seeded in Pot 2 this time based on our coefficient. Last season we were seeded in Pot 1 as the Europa League-winners, though that didn’t necessarily protect us from what was a pretty even group in the end. Because UEFA seeds the actual league champions into Pot 1, we end up with three Premier League teams in Pot 2.
POT 1: Bayern Munich, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, PSG, Zenit St Petersburg, FC Porto
POT 2: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund, CHELSEA, Ajax Amsterdam
POT 3: Dynamo Kiev, RB Salzburg, RB Leipzig, Inter Milan, Olympiacos, Lazio, Krasnodar, Atalanta
POT 4: Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Club Brugge, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, FC Midtjylland, Rennes, Ferencváros
I’d say the toughest group we could get is something along the lines of Bayern, Inter, and maybe Rennes. The easiest one would probably involve Zenit, Kiev, and FTC from Hungary. And the ultimate in terms of narrative would probably involve Hazard’s Real, Conte’s Inter, and AVB’s Marseille.
You can simulate your own draw before the real thing at the usual place as well.
Here’s one I did just now, where we’d end with PSG, BMG, and Kiev. Doable.