Champions League Group Stage Draw Pots: Who Each Team Could Play
The qualifying rounds are over, and the Champions League is ready to really get started.
The final 10 places were secured after the last play-in round, with Liverpool, Napoli, Celtic, Sevilla, Maribor, Olympiakos, Sporting Lisbon, CSKA Moscow, Qarabag and APOEL joining the automatic qualifiers in Europe's premier competition. The event marks the beginning of the road to Kiev, as the Ukrainian capital city will host the May 26 final.
The draw, meanwhile, is set for Thursday, August 24, in Monaco.
Two-time reigning champion Real Madrid leads the way in Pot 1, which is reserved for the reigning king and the domestic league champions, with the top seven in UEFA's league coefficient earning the honors.
Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other in the group stage, and teams in the same pot cannot meet in the opening phase either, meaning a potential PSG-Barcelona showdown would have to wait until the knockout stage, given that they are both in Pot 2.
The 32 teams will be split into eight groups of four. From there, the top two finishers advance to the knockout stage, where two-legged ties are carried out until the one-off final.
Here are the four pots for the group draw:
ANALYSIS: Teams in the other pots will obviously want to draw Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk, the weakest teams of the pot. While Monaco was a semifinalist a year ago and still boasts plenty of talent, it was gutted from a star standpoint and could yet lose Kylian Mbappe.
ANALYSIS: This is arguably a more daunting group than Pot 1, especially given Manchester United's start in the Premier League and PSG's new (and potential) reinforcements. The permutations for top-heavy groups are plentiful, and we should see some marquee group matchups that ultimately won't determine which favorite goes through, but instead which goes through as a second-place finisher.
ANALYSIS: Tottenham's European struggles are well-documented, and Liverpool's return will have some of the teams in the top two pots on notice. Group play will be a litmus test for those two English sides, while Roma and Napoli stand out as the most difficult teams in this bunch.
ANALYSIS: RB Leipzig is an absolute wildcard, while Sporting Lisbon's fortunes could hinge on William Carvalho's pending sale. Seeing Celtic and manager Brendan Rodgers paired with his former side Liverpool would garner plenty of headlines.