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Champions League Group Stage – Who could the British sides draw?

The UEFA Champions League’s Group Stage draw will take place on Thursday evening, as the four Premier League representatives discover which teams each will face.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are the English quartet in this season’s competition and the Premier League clubs will be joined by Celtic and Rangers in the group stage, with the latter returning to this stage for the first time since 2010/11 after beating PSV Eindhoven in the qualification rounds.

 

The draw will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, where this season’s final will be held, at 5pm (BST) on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the draw, we look at the group stage seeding.

Pot One

Ajax, Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, Manchester City, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid.

Pot one features the domestic champions of the six highest-ranked nations in Europe who did not win one of the major UEFA trophies last season, with Manchester City featuring alongside clubs including Bayern Munich, PSG and AC Milan.

Real Madrid are the Spanish champions but their automatic qualification as Champions League winners has freed a space for the Eredivisie champions in Pot One, with Ajax taking that place.

Eintracht Frankfurt are also in Pot One having won the Europa League last season, beating Rangers on penalties in the final.

Pot Two

Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Sevilla, Tottenham.

The remaining groups are decided on club co-efficient ranking, with the remaining three Premier League clubs all placed in Pot Two. Liverpool – runners-up last season – Chelsea and Tottenham will be joined by a Spanish trio of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.

Liverpool reached a third final in five seasons in 2021/22 and will be confident of reaching the Champions League’s latter rounds once again. Chelsea, meanwhile, were crowned champions of Europe for a second time in 2021.

Juventus and RB Leipzig fill the remaining places in Pot Two.

Pot Three

Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli, RB Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Lisbon.

An intriguing Pot Three will feature teams that the Premier League clubs will want to avoid, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Inter Milan each posing difficult tests for the English clubs.

Romelu Lukaku will want to prove a point to Premier League clubs after rejoining Inter Milan on loan this summer, following a disappointing return to Chelsea last season.

Dortmund – finalists in 2013 – have made a number of eye-catching additions following the exit of Erling Haaland and count England international Jude Bellingham among their key players.

Benfica, RB Salzburg and Sporting Lisbon are all also in Pot Three, with each of those clubs having reached the Champions League’s knockout rounds in 2021/22.

Pot Four

Celtic, Club Brugge, Copenhagen, Maccabi Haifa, Marseille, Viktorie Plzen, Rangers, Dinamo Zagreb.

Celtic and Rangers are both in Pot Four for the draw this evening, as the Scottish duo return to the Champions League’s group stage after a long absence.

Celtic last reached this stage during the 2017/18 campaign, while this season is the first in more than a decade since Rangers featured in the group stage. The intervening years featured a rebuild from Scotland’s Third Division, but The Gers have had success in Europe in recent seasons including reaching the Europa League final in 2021/22.

Marseille – who won the competition in 1993 and count former Premier League names Dimitri Payet and Alexis Sanchez among their squad – are in Pot Four, alongside Club Brugge who lost the 1978 European Cup final to Liverpool.

Maccabai Haifa also return after a 13-year absence after a dramatic last-minute own goal secured a qualifying win over Red Star Belgrade.

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