Champions League draw: Premier League clubs and their possible opponents in group stage

England aim to revive a fading record in the Champions League with five teams in the group-stage draw for the first time on Thursday.

Liverpool's advanced through the playoffs on Wednesday to join top-seeded Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, plus Tottenham in the 32-team draw in Monaco. Manchester United enter as Europa League winners after placing only sixth in the Premier League.

The UEFA logo is seen before the draw ceremony for the 2016/2017 Champions League Cup soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monaco August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard - RTX2N1IW

File photo of the UEFA Champions League logo. Reuters

Chelsea's 2012 Champions League title is the only English win in nine seasons and an era of all-Premier League semi-finals has passed.

Now, Liverpool and Tottenham risk landing in a blockbuster four-team group as both will be drawn from the pot of third-seeded teams.

A powerful pot of second-seeded teams — who did not win their national league — features five of the eight teams highest-ranked by UEFA. They include Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid head top-seeded clubs as the two-time defending champion, and fourth straight Champions League winner from Spain. Madrid are joined by Juventus, Bayern Munich and other winners of Europe's eight highest-ranked national leagues.

RB Leipzig and Qarabag, the 106th-ranked champion of Azerbaijan, are the only group-stage newcomers.

Germany have just three teams in Thursday's draw after Hoffenheim were eliminated by Liverpool. That won't happen again after new rules come into force.

From next season, the big four leagues — currently Spain, Germany, England and Italy — each get four direct entries to the groups and skip the playoffs. No two teams from the same country can be drawn in the same group.

Prize money is also set to rise in 2018 when more valuable renewals of three-year broadcasting deals kick in.

For now, each team in Thursday's draw will again get just a basic fee of €12.7 million from UEFA. More is earned from results bonuses and advancing through knockout rounds. The 32 teams share a total prize fund of more than €1.3 billion.

The group stage kicks off on 13 September, and the final is played on 26 May, 2018 in Kiev, at the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 2012 European Championship final.

It will be problematic for UEFA if either Moscow club goes all the way to the final in Ukraine's capital city.

Since 2014, UEFA has separated Russian and Ukrainian national and club teams in competition draws during an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

CSKA Moscow in the fourth-seeded pot must be kept apart from top-seeded Shakhtar's group when retired greats Francesco Totti and Andriy Shevchenko assist in the draw ceremony.

Here's a look at the clubs that the Premier League sides can draw in the draw on Thursday.

Chelsea

Qualifying as Premier League champions, Chelsea are among the seeded teams with defending champions Real Madrid. However, with the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain lurking in pot two, the path out of the group stage may not be as simple. With a depleted squad, competing in Europe and defending their league title will prove difficult especially since Chelsea will face Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool in the league after four of their group stages.

Possible opponents in group stage:

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.


Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs had a miserable Champions League campaign last season with Mauricio Pochettino’s men only able win to win two of their six group matches and losing two of their three home matches at temporary-home Wembley. A second-place finish in the Premier League sees the North-London club feature in the Champions League for a second successive season. A lower UEFA coefficient ranking means Spurs are in pot three and will probably get the toughest group among the English clubs.

Possible opponents in group stage:

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.


Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s side would be aiming to go further than the Round of 16, which they managed last season. City have spent more than £220 million, getting the likes of Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker and fans will be expecting City to reach a maiden final. By being in pot two, City are likely to draw one of European giants Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus among the seeded teams with Napoli, AS Roma, Celtic and RB Leipzig as other possible group rivals.

Possible opponents in group stage:

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.

Liverpool

The five-time champions are back in the Champions League after an absence of two years after beating Hoffenheim in the playoffs. However, like Spurs, Liverpool too are in pot three and are likely to get a tough draw with Jurgen Klopp’s previous club Borussia Dortmund and former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic possible teams that the Reds can draw.

Possible opponents in group stage:

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho’s side qualified for the Champions League by virtue of winning the Europa League last season. Like rivals Manchester City, United are in pot two and therefore avoid the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain but Mourinho may see a return to former club Real Madrid, who are the top seeded club in the competition. Paul Pogba may return to his old stomping ground in Turin with Juventus among the seeded teams while Romelu Lukaku’s boyhood club Anderlecht are also one of the teams that may be drawn alongside United.

Possible opponents in group stage:

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.

According to UEFA rules, clubs from the same national associations can’t be drawn in the same group. Here are how all the teams have been grouped for the draw.

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot two: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Manchester City, Porto, Manchester United.

Pot three: Napoli, Tottenham, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.

With inputs from AP


Published Date: Aug 24, 2017 03:09 pm | Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 03:09 pm


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