Live thread for the Champions League Group Stage
The Road to Berlin begins today with the Champions League Group Stage draw that will be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, with coverage beginning at 5:45pm CET. 32 clubs, of which 22 automatically qualified for this stage of Champions League football, have been split into four pots, depending on their UEFA coefficient ranking. The remaining 10 teams have already fought their way to make it this far through as much as three round of football.
The Group Stage of the competition will once again welcome clubs into its ranks that have never in the history of the competition made it this far. This year Malmö FF and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad earn the bragging rights, both teams winning the playoff tie after losing the first leg away from home. Two teams, La Liga's own Athletic Bilbao and Slovenia's NK Maribor, return to the Champions League for the first time since the new millennium, with both sides making just their second Champions League appearance, with the previous coming in the late 1990s.
As for the rules of the draw, eight groups will be formed, consisting of one team from each pot. Teams from the same association, which is a fancy way of saying: "teams from the same country", can't be drawn together. Group Stage matches will be played from 16 September to 10 December, as usually, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The draw will be live streamed on UEFA.com.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
| Real Madrid CF || FC Schalke 04 || Bayer 04 Leverkusen || RSC Anderlecht |
|FC Barcelona||Borussia Dortmund|| Olympiacos FC || AS Roma |
|FC Bayern München|| Juventus || PFC CSKA Moskva || APOEL FC |
| Chelsea FC ||Paris Saint-Germain FC|| AFC Ajax || FC BATE Borisov |
| SL Benfica || FC Shakhtar Donetsk || Liverpool FC || PFC Ludogorets Razgrad |
|Club Atlético de Madrid||FC Basel 1893||Sporting Clube de Portugal|| NK Maribor |
| Arsenal FC || FC Zenit || Galatasaray AŞ || AS Monaco FC |
| FC Porto ||Manchester City FC|| Athletic Club de Bilbao || Malmö FF |