Champions League draw: When is it on? How can I follow it?
All you need to know ahead of Thursday's draw in Monaco
Ajax players celebrate after their Uefa Champions League playoff second leg win over Apoel Nicosia. Photo: Olaf Kraak/EPA
On Wednesday night, Ajax, Club Brugge and Slavia Prague completed the 32-team lineup for this year’s Champions League. With the group stage draw set to take place in Monaco on Thursday evening we take you through all you need to know.
So, first off, when is this draw taking place?
The draw will get underway at 5pm Irish time at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco although the usual rules apply when it comes to these things in that the actual process probably won’t begin until at least 5.15pm after all the usual awkward presenter chat has finished.
How can I follow it?
The draw will be shown live on BT Sport Two, Virgin Media Sport and Sky Sports News. There will be full reports and reaction on The Irish Times after the draw is complete.
How does the draw work?
Same as ever, there are four pots of eight teams which will be divided into eight groups of four. Teams are allocated their pots based on their seedings with the two winners of last year’s European competitions as well as the six winners of the top-ranked European leagues placed in pot one. Three of the English teams – Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City – are in pot one while last year’s beaten finalists Tottenham Hotspur are in pot two alongside 13-time winners Real Madrid. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together in the group stages while Russian and Ukranian teams are also kept separate for political reasons.
What is the breakdown of the pots?
Pot one: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Zenit St Petersburg
Pot two: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham, Ajax, Benfica
Pot three: Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Salzburg, Olympiakos, Club Bruges, Valencia, Inter Milan, Dinamo Zagreb
Pot four: Lokomotiv Moscow, Genk, Galatasaray, RB Leipzig, Slavia Prague, Red Star Belgrade, Atalanta, Lille
What date do matches start?
Matchday one will take place on September 17th and 18th with games split, like last year, between 5.55pm kick-offs and 8pm kick-offs.
The full calendar is:
September 17th and 18th: Matchday one
October 1st and second: Matchday two
October 22nd and 23rd: Matchday three
November 5th and 6th: Matchday four
November 26th and 27th: Matchday five
December 10th and 11th: Matchday six
December 16th: Round of 16 draw
February 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th: Round of 16 first legs
March 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th: Round of 16 second legs
March 20th: Quarter-finals and semi-finals draw
April 7th and 8th: Quarter-finals first leg
April 14th and 15th: Quarter-finals second leg
April 28th and 29th: Semi-finals first leg
May 5th and 6th: Semi-finals second leg
May 30th: Final