The draw for the 2021/22 Champions League group stage is set to take place in Istanbul, Turkey this week.
Twenty-six teams have qualified automatically for the group stage, including Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, with six other teams earning their spots through play-offs.
Here’s all you need to know about the draw, including when it is, who’s involved and what pots teams are in…
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When is the draw?
The draw starts at 5pm BST on Thursday, August 26. Former Chelsea duo Branislav Ivanovic and Michael Essien will assist with the draw.
How does the draw work?
The 32 clubs are split into four seeding pots, with Pot 1 consisting of the holders, the Europa League winners and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations.
Pots 2 to 4 are determined by club coefficient rankings and no team can play a side from their own league. Clubs are drawn into eight four-team groups.
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Who’s in which pot?
The eight clubs in Pot 1 are Champions League holders Chelsea and Europa League winners Villarreal, along with the title-winning clubs from Europe’s six highest-ranked leagues: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Sporting Lisbon, Lille.
Pot 2 is arguably the strongest pot as it features: Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund.
The clubs in Pot 3 are Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Salzburg and Zenit St Petersburg.
Pot 4 will include Club Brugge, Young Boys, AC Milan, Malmo, Besiktas, Dynamo Kyiv, Sheriff Tiraspol and Wolfsburg.
When are the games?
The dates for the group-stage matches are as follows:
- Matchday 1: 14/15 September
- Matchday 2: 28/29 September
- Matchday 3: 19/20 October
- Matchday 4: 2/3 November
- Matchday 5: 23/24 November
- Matchday 6: 7/8 December
What else will be happening at the draw?
A number of award winners will be announced, including UEFA Men's Player of the Year, UEFA Women's Player of the Year, UEFA Men's Coach of the Year and UEFA Women's Coach of the Year.
The three finalists for Men’s Player of the Year are Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Chelsea duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.
Barcelona trio Jenni Hermoso, Lieke Martens and Alexia Putellas are the three nominees for the Women's Player of the Year award while Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and Roberto Mancini will contest the Coach of the Year award.
Ngolo Kante and Jorginho of Chelsea
Image credit: Imago
When’s the Champions League final?
The final takes place in the Russian city of St Petersburg on May 28, 2022.
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