Anticipation is high as the draw for the opening stages of Europe’s elite club competition – the Champions League - edges closer.
Fans across Europe are now able to roar their beloved teams on from the stands again. After over 18 months of cancellations and closed off games, stadiums will once again be packed with excited supporters.
Last year’s Champions League final saw two of the English Premier League’s big hitters go head to head, where Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea lifted the famous trophy following a hard fought 1-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s star studded Manchester City thanks to Kai Havertz’s first half strike.
It’s set to be an intriguing campaign this year, with big spending Paris St-Germain looking to drag the trophy away from English soil following the high profile signings of Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos.
When is the draw for the Champions League?
Set to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, the draw for the group stage of the competition will get underway a day after the conclusion of the Champions League second and final play off legs.
The draw is set to begin at 5pm (BST) on Thursday August 26.
How are the Champions League groups decided?
The teams are split into four pots, with each pot seeded.
The first pot contains eight teams, which include the Champions League holders, Europa League winners and the champions of the six highest ranking national leagues.
The second, third and fourth pot are determined by club coefficient rankings, that look at each team’s performance in European competition over the last five seasons. However, at that stage, no side can be drawn against a side from their own country.
Which teams have qualified for the Champions League group stage?
In total, 32 teams will form eight form eight groups of four, with six of those teams qualifying for the Champions League via the medium of a qualifying play off.
However, 26 teams qualify automatically for the Champions League group stage without the need for a play off.
The following teams have already qualified:
How can I watch the Champions League group draw?
The Champions League draw is live streamed via UEFA.com.
When does the Champions League group stage begin?
Once the draw has been concluded, each group of four teams will face each other home and away, with the group stage fixtures running between September and December, before the competition turns into the knockout rounds at the beginning of 2022.
Match day one in the Champions League will take place between September 14 and 15.
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