The Champions League is back!
Wednesday night saw the completion of the qualification for the group stage with Benfica, Dutch champions PSV and Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) sealing their passage through to the elite club competition.
The list of participants of the 2018/19 Champions League group stage is now complete and next up is the draw where the likes of title-holders Real Madrid, finalists Liverpool and all other major teams across the continent will learn their faith.
The draw will be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, starting from 5:00 BST when 32 sides will be thrown into eight groups by four teams each.
We currently have four seeded pots of eight teams. Each team from the first pot will first be drawn as top seeders with the rest of the group completed in sequence. Teams from the same association cannot face each other in the group stage.
Champions League pots
- Pot 1: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris St-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow.
- Pot 2: Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Roma.
- Pot 3: Liverpool, Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia.
- Pot 4: Viktoria Plzen, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Young Boys, Inter Milan, Hoffenheim, Red Star Belgrade, AEK Athens.
This year’s edition of the Champions League is deemed one of the strongest in recent years. Pot one is made of last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners, who are joined by domestic champions from Europe’s biggest leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and the Russian Premier League.
The second pot contains next eight best teams in terms of UEFA coefficient. Seven seeds in pot 2 have already been decided prior to the qualification play-off with Liverpool hoping to become the eighth ones. However, with Benfica sealing qualification after their win over PAOK, Jurgen Klopp’s men were left in pot three despite reaching the final of the competition last season.
UEFA ranking system calculates a club’s performances in European competitions across the five past season which is why Benfica held an edge over the last year’s finalists Liverpool. Similarly, the Italian giants – and the 2010 Champions League winners – Inter Milan were slotted in the final pot which could potentially lead to quite an interesting draw and a possible group of death consisting of four previous Champions League winners – Real Madrid/Barcelona, Dortmund, Liverpool and Inter Milan.
The first round of the Champions League group stage will take place on September 18th and 19th with the first stage of the competition finishing on December 11th and 12th. The Champions League final will be held at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on June 1st. It will be the first time since 2010 that the final of Europe’s elite competition will be held in Spain.
Editor’s note: Below you can find the group stage draw results in full.
Thursday’s ceremony will also have the winners of the UEFA Player Awards announced.
Cristiano Ronaldo – now at Juventus – his former teammate Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah are on the shortlist for the men’s Player of the Year award hoping to put their hands of this coveted piece of silverware.
Mohamed Salah was in imperial form for Liverpool, guiding the Reds through on all fronts thanks to his impressive goalscoring run whereas Ronaldo and Modric were instrumental in Real Madrid’s run towards the 13th Champions League trophy and their third successive European title.
Cristiano Ronaldo has already been given a personal recognition with his overkick beauty against Juventus being officially voted as a UEFA Goal of the Season.
UPDATE: Luka Modric has been voted the UEFA Player of the Year.
With the Portuguese superstar now out of Madrid, however, Los Blancos are being pushed down the ladder behind Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and PSG who have been identified as four favourites to topple Real from their perch.
Los Blancos are given a price of 9/1 to defend their title and grab their fourth consecutive Champions League medal.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!