All You Need to Know About the Champions League Group Stage Draw

The Champions League Group Stage Draw: What You Need to Know

The anticipation is building as the Champions League group stage draw is set to take place on Thursday evening. Four Premier League teams, namely Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle, are on the edge of their seats, eager to discover their fate in this prestigious competition. Here is all the vital information you need ahead of this exciting event.

When is the Draw?
The draw is scheduled to kick off at 5:00 PM UK time on Thursday evening. The grand event will unfold at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

How Does the Draw Work?
The 32 teams that have qualified for Europe’s premier football competition will be divided into eight groups, each consisting of four teams. These groups will be carefully constructed, ensuring that each group has a representative from each seeding pot.

The composition of the pots will be finalized on Thursday morning, following confirmation of the winners in the final play-off matches. As per tradition, teams from the same country will be kept apart until at least the quarter-final stage, with additional pairing restrictions in place.

How Are the Pots Determined?
Pot 1 comprises the Champions League and Europa League winners, as well as the domestic champions of England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and Portugal. In a unique circumstance, due to Manchester City’s dual triumph in the Champions League and the Premier League, Eredivisie champions Feyenoord have also earned a spot in Pot 1.

Pots 2 to 4 are determined using club coefficient rankings, which are based on teams’ performance over the last five seasons in the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.

Which Teams Are in Which Pots?
In Pot 1, we find Manchester City, alongside Sevilla, Barcelona, Napoli, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, and Feyenoord.

Manchester United and Arsenal will be placed in Pot 2, where they’ll avoid teams like Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund.

Newcastle, making their long-awaited return to the Champions League after two decades, find themselves in Pot 4. This opens up the possibility of them being drawn against some of Europe’s heavyweight clubs.

Which Teams Can Still Qualify?
Out of the 32 available spots, only three remain to be filled. Teams such as Braga, Galatasaray, and Young Boys have secured their places with impressive play-off victories on Tuesday evening.

Scottish side Rangers are battling for a spot in tonight’s second leg match against PSV Eindhoven after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Ibrox last week.

Meanwhile, both Antwerp and FC Copenhagen hold 1-0 leads from their first leg encounters, setting the stage for decisive matches against AEK Athens and Rakow, respectively.

When Will the 2023-24 Champions League Group Stage Fixtures Take Place?
The group stage fixtures are set to commence in mid-September. During this stage, teams in each group will face each other both at home and away. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stages.

Here are the dates for all six matchdays:

Matchday 1: September 19-20
Matchday 2: October 3-4
Matchday 3: October 24-25
Matchday 4: November 7-8
Matchday 5: November 28-29
Matchday 6: December 12-13
What Else Can We Expect from Thursday’s Draw?
In addition to the draw itself, UEFA will announce the winners of its 2022-23 awards. This includes recognition for the best player and coach in both the men’s and women’s games.

For the men’s award, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are competing against World Cup winner Lionel Messi.

In the women’s category, two members of Spain’s World Cup-winning team, Aitana Bonmati and Olga Carmona, are nominated. Jorge Vilda is also nominated in the coach category, amid ongoing issues related to Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales.