The UEFA Champions League group stage draw will hold on Thursday, and there could be a “Group of Death” including Liverpool and Real Madrid after all four drawing pots were confirmed.
After the playoffs ended with Percy Tau’s Club Brugge, Ajax Amsterdam and Slavia Praha becoming the last three teams to qualify for this season’s group stage, the draw is scheduled for 18:00 in Monaco on Thursday.
As a result, the 32 qualified teams were placed into four seeding pots, which makes for an interesting draw.
Pot 1 consists of the holders of the Champions League (Liverpool) and the UEFA Europa League (Chelsea), plus the champions of the six highest-ranked UEFA nations, while Pots 2 to 4 are determined by the club coefficient rankings.
Holders Liverpool could be paired with record champions Real Madrid, Inter Milan and RB Leipzig in what many would absolutely consider a “Group of Death”, while Tau’s Brugge is also in for some tough opposition.
Here are all four confirmed seeding pots:
Pot 1: Liverpool (ENG, UEFA Champions League holders), Chelsea (ENG, UEFA Europa League winners), FC Barcelona (ESP), Manchester City (ENG), Juventus (ITA), Bayern Munich (GER), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), Zenit (RUS)
Pot 2: Real Madrid (ESP), Atletico Madrid (ESP), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Napoli (ITA), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), Ajax Amsterdam (NED), Benfica (POR)
Pot 3: Olympique Lyon (FRA), Bayer Leverkusen (GER), Salzburg (AUT), Olympiacos (GRE), Club Brugge (BEL), Valencia (ESP), Inter Milan (ITA), GNK Dinamo (CRO)
Pot 4: Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS), Genk (BEL), Galatasaray (TUR), RB Leipzig (GER), Slavia Praha (CZE), Crvena Zvezda (SRB), Atalanta (ITA), LOSC Lille (FRA)
No team can play a club from their own association and, based on decisions taken by the Uefa Executive Committee, clubs from Russia and Ukraine must not be drawn in the same group.
In the case of associations with two or more representatives, clubs will be paired in order to split their matches between Tuesday and Wednesday.
If a paired club is drawn, for example, in Groups A, B, C or D, the other paired club – once drawn – will automatically be assigned to one of the Groups E, F, G or H.
The first group stage fixtures will take place on 17 and 18 September, while the group phase concludes on 10 and 11 December.
Along with the UCL draw, Uefa will also announce the winners of the Champions League positional awards, the Europa League Player of the Season accolade and the coveted Uefa Men’s Player of the Year prize.