24th August 2021 at 1:38 pm #183365nine nine nineModerator
“The Champions League draw is upon us again as Uefa draws up its fixtures for the 2021-22 group stages.
While many fans don’t enjoy the spectacle itself, not least because the governing body’s bureaucrats usually treat it with all the urgency of the US presidential election results, there should be some thrilling European encounters in the pipeline.
The group stages begin across 14-15 September and there is a long way to go between now and the final Saint Petersburg.
Chelsea are the reigning champions having beaten Manchester City in May and they kicked off the new campaign with another continental trophy, beating Villarreal in Belfast to win the Super Cup.
The pots – as things stand
That means Thomas Tuchel’s side are in Pot One as the holders, alongside Europa League winners Villarreal and the champions of England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France.
However, it doesn’t get much easier in Pot Two, not least because PSG, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid all failed to win the league last season. Instead, it is Lille and Inter Milan who will avoid the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
There can be no Lionel Messi reunion at Camp Nou just yet, as PSG and Barcelona’s presence in the same pot means they can’t play one another.
Note that the pots aren’t quite decided yet – that’s because there are still some qualifiers to be completed. The winners of those ties will go into either pot three or four.
How to watch the draw
Date: Thursday 26 August
Time: 5pm BST
TV channel: Uefa will be streaming the draw live on their website, while it will also be televised on BT Sport 2 and on the BT Sport website.
Pot one: Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Inter Milan, Sporting Lisbon, Lille.
Pot two: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund.
Pot three: Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Pot four: Brugge, Young Boys or Ferencvaros, AC Milan, Ludogorets or Malmo, Wolfsburg.
Pot three or four: Shakhtar Donetsk OR Monaco, RB Salzburg OR Brondby, Benfica OR PSV Eindhoven, Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb OR Sheriff Tiraspol.
Who can the English teams play?
In short, not each other. No teams from the same associations can be drawn in the same group, so Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United will avoid each other.
They will also not be drawn against teams from their own pot. That leaves the best and worst case scenarios for the four English teams looking like this:
Liverpool and Manchester United (in the same pot):
Group of death – Bayern Munich, PSG, AC Milan and Porto.
Best-case scenario – Lille, Zenit St Petersburg, Ferencvaros
Chelsea and Manchester City (in the same pot):
Group of death – Real Madrid, Ajax, AC Milan
Best-case scenario – Sevilla, Atalanta, Ludogorets ”
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