With the final qualifying games now completed, the 32 teams are known as to who will compete in the 2019/20 Champions League, with Liverpool FC the defending champions.
The draw for the Group Stages takes place in Monaco later today (Thursday August 29th) at around 17:00 BST – with the final taking place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey on May 30th, 2020.
Liverpool, who will be attempting to defend their European Champions status, are joined in the draw by fellow English teams Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. As always, the teams are split into 4 groups, with no teams from the same country allowed to be drawn together at this stage. Once the eight groups are known, they played each other twice, with the top 2 of each group progressing to the knock out phase, the third placed team of each group goes into the Europa League competition, whilst the last placed team have their European adventure over for the season.
The seeded groups make for interesting reading (listed in alphabetical order):
POT 1 : Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Zenit St Petersburg
POT 2 : Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham Hotspur
POT 3 : Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge, Dinamo Zagreb, Inter Milan, Lyon, Olympiacos, Salzburg, Valencia
POT 4 : Atalanta, Galatasaray, Genk, Lille, Lokomotiv Moscow, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, Slavia Prague
Some big names lurking in the lower pots, and the distinct potential for one or two real ‘Groups of Death’; for the English clubs, they will be looking to avoid a draw that contains the potential opponents of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Galatasaray – being, arguably, the worst possible combination of teams. Another combination that would be deemed a cruel draw would be Atletico Madrid, Leverkusen and Atalanta.
Should fortune really favour the Pot 1 English clubs, they could end up with Benfica, Salzburg and Genk, which looks, again arguably, the easiest combination of teams.
From Tottenham’s perspective, they will be hoping they get drawn in the same group as Zenit from Pot 1 – the other four remaining, possible, opponents all looking extremely difficult.
Gameday 1 for the Group Stages will be 17th and 18th September.
One thing is for certain, the draw will be exciting and whet the appetite for the upcoming Champions League – although it will do very well to exceed, if not match, the drama and unforgettable moments of last season.
LAST 10 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS
- 2019 – LIVERPOOL (England)
- 2018 – REAL MADRID (Spain)
- 2017 – REAL MADRID (Spain)
- 2016 – REAL MADRID (Spain)
- 2015 – BARCELONA (Spain)
- 2014 – REAL MADRID (Spain)
- 2013 – BAYERN MUNICH (Germany)
- 2012 – CHELSEA (England)
- 2011 – BARCELONA (Spain)
- 2010 – INTER MILAN (Italy)