Champions League group stage draw: Five British teams await fate on Thursday


Five British teams await their fate in Thursday’s Champions League group stage draw at 17:00 BST in Monaco. Manchester City will be among the top seeds as holders, while Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle are England’s other representatives. Newcastle were last in the group stages in 2002-03, while it will be Arsenal’s first appearance since 2016-17.

Scottish champions Celtic are also in the draw and could face the Gunners, or one of the Manchester teams. The teams are split into four pots, according to seeding, with one from each placed in eight groups. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together. Spain have five teams in the competition because Sevilla qualified as Europa League winners and not through their league position. England do not get a fifth team because Champions League winners City also qualified through the league, which they won as part of their trophy Treble last season.

German side Union Berlin will make their Champions League debut this season, while Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk will play their games in Hamburg because of the continuing invasion of their country by Russia. The group stages will run from 19 September to 13 December, with the final at Wembley on 1 June. It is the final Champions League under the current format, with the top two of each four-team group going into the last-16 knockout phase.

From next season there will be 36 teams, up from 32, and all of them playing eight matches, instead of six, against eight different opponents. Four games will be at home and four away. All 36 sides will be ranked in one league table. The top eight will go straight into the last 16, with the teams ranked ninth to 24th facing two-legged play-offs to join them.

Champions League pots: Who is in the group stage?

Pot 1: MANCHESTER CITY, Sevilla, Barcelona, Napoli, Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Benfica, Feyenoord

Pot 2: Real Madrid, MANCHESTER UNITED, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, Porto, ARSENAL

Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk, Salzburg, Milan, Braga, PSV Eindhoven, Lazio, Red Star Belgrade, FC Copenhagen

Pot 4: Young Boys, Real Sociedad, Galatasaray, CELTIC, NEWCASTLE UNITED, Union Berlin, Royal Antwerp, RC Lens


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