LIVERPOOL, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham are ready to learn their opponents as the Champions League group stage is drawn.
And the four English entrants will be joined by Rangers and Celtic, who are together in a Champions League group stage draw for the first time in 12 years.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Gers beat PSV Eindhoven in qualifying after a thrilling 1-0 win in Philips Stadion last night, clinching the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
The dream for all of these teams will be to take the trophy off Champions Real Madrid, who beat Liverpool 1-0 in the final in Paris in May.
Country protection will be in place for the draw, meaning no team can draw a club from the same nation until the quarter-final stage.
Find out all you need to know about the group stage draw…
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- TV channel: BT Sport 1
- Free live stream: BT Sport YouTube/UEFA website
- Pot 1: Real Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, Manchester City, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Ajax
- Pot 2: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Tottenham Hotspur
- Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter, Napoli, Sporting Lisbon, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica
- Pot 4: Club Brugge, Celtic, Marseille, Maccabi Haifa, Viktoria Plzen, Rangers, Dinamo Zagreb, Copenhagen
Defeat difficult to take
Winning the Champions League final is something as a player you will never forget and is likely to remain as one your proudest moments.
Losing a final however, is hard to take and the pain lives on long after the final whistle.
Let’s hope this season’s competition goes according to plan and any tears in the final are due to the emotions of the occasion and not from the CS gas cannisters of the heavy-handed police presence.
Legends as far as the eye can see
One thing which is always interesting in these draws is getting to see how time has been to some of our favourite players from years gone by.
Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved arrives at the venue looking as though he is still ready to step in for any potential reboot of ‘Roadhouse’.
What a fantastic midfielder Nedved was.
The draw ceremony is just about to begin.
Final preparations taking place
Everything is being polished and arranged ready for the group stage draw in Istanbul, Turkey.
As the player and club representatives arrive, it is starting to fill up slowly but surely.
Conversations will be about who they do and don’t want to face in the early stages of the competition.
Famous faces wherever you look
As the draw itself attracts representatives of all the clubs involved along with a lot of ex-players, there are lots familiar faces on show.
Edwin Van der Sar, the ex-Man Utd goalkeeper and now Chief Executive at Ajax arrives at the venue.
Good to see the Dutchman showing his sense of humour as the cameras capture him.
Keeping the dream alive
This is the most coveted trophy in European football.
Nobody ever forgets winning it, with clubs celebrating their wins in their club’s history such is the size of the prize.
Of the six British teams entering this season’s competition, only Rangers, Tottenham and Man City have yet to win the trophy.
Time to meet the don
One man will live in history in this competition as a manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
The current Real Madrid manager has now won the trophy four times (twice with AC Milan, twice with Real Madrid).
He is also the first and only person to have managed teams in five Champions League finals.
His side go into today’s draw as the champions, looking to defend their crown.
Form temporary, class permanent
As we edge closer to the big draw, we take a look at the all-time top scorers in the Champions League group stages.
With Cristiano Ronaldo not being involved in this season’s competition, it gives Lionel Messi a chance to extend the gap between the two.
From Russia without love
There will be no Russian teams in this season’s Champions League as part of the UEFA punishment because of the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk will play their group games at Legia Warsaw’s Stadion Wojska Polskiego in Poland, almost 1,000 miles from Donetsk.
That will be Shakhtar’s fourth different Champions League home ground away from their city since Donetsk was captured by pro-Russian separatists in 2014.
Gio’s special night in Eindhoven
Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be keen to see how his Glasgow Rangers fare in the draw after a memorable win against Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV side, booking their place in today’s draw.
After a 2-2 stalemate at Ibrox in the first leg, the Dutch side were much fancied to progress to the group stages.
It is 12 years since Rangers qualified for the Champions League group stages.
Time for City to exorcise demons
During his reign at Man City, Pep Guardiola has won pretty much everything there is to win.
However, there is one rather large elephant in the room, the Champions League.
Their rivals laud their inability to perform on the biggest stage of them all and if Pep were to leave City at the end of his contract, it would be the stain on his CV.
Having added Erling Haaland amongst others to their squad, this season could be the best chance for some time for Pep Guardiola to make winning the trophy their priority.
Who are punters fancying?
It is always an interesting read to see who the fans are putting their money on to reign supreme in this season’s competition.
Betfair have compiled a list to show where they are seeing the money going as it stands.
Percentage of single bets placed on clubs to win the Champions League 2022/23:
Man City: 21%
Real Madrid: 7.8%
Bayern Munich: 6.5%
Atletico Madrid: 2.8%
AC Milan, Inter Milan: 1.77%
Celtic, Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund: 0.5%
Show me the money
As ever, football fans have been betting on who they think will win this season’s Champions League trophy.
Here are the latest odds from Betfair.
Champions League winner 2022/23:
Man City: 11/4
Bayern Munich: 7/1
Real Madrid: 12/1
Inter Milan: 25/1
Familiar faces, unfamiliar surroundings
As the transfer window has served up some interesting moves this summer, we will be seeing some big names in kits we are not used to them donning.
Robert Lewandowski will be wearing the colours of Barcelona in this season’s competition, while Erling Haaland has swapped Dortmund for Man City.
Pep Guardiola will be hoping that the striker is the missing piece of the jigsaw which will see them win their first ever Champions League trophy.
Semi-automated offside technology
This year’s Champions League will see a camera based system judge offside calls in the group stages.
It was approved last month by FIFA for the World Cup and it will use multiple cameras to track players limbs from the moment when a key pass is made.
There has been a lot of controversy in Champions League history but this technology is being brought in to try and eradicate the errors.
A pot of gold
There could be some tasty match-ups this year.
Champions of the Champions League
Real Madrid lead the charts by some way when it comes to Champions League triumphs.
Below is a list of some of the winners:
- Real Madrid – 14
- AC Milan – 7
- Liverpool – 6
- Bayern Munich – 6
- Barcelona – 5
- Ajax – 4
- Manchester United and Inter Milan – 3
- Benfica, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest and Porto – 2
Ready to start changing Gers
Rangers have turned up fashionably late to the party but they are here and are loving every single moment of it.
The Scottish giants pipped Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s side to the final Champions League qualification spot having beaten PSV Eindhoven in Holland yesterday.
This meant that Rangers have finally made a return to top-tier European football for the first time in twelve years.
And they join bitter rivals Celtic in Pot 4, however, both could face hard opponents due to the pot that they are in.
Time to rewind the clocks
Real Madrid became the Kings of Europe for a 14th time in last season’s competition.
Liverpool fans, look away now.
A rundown of the pots
There are four pots for the Champions League group stage draw which are then allocated into groups of eight.
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, Manchester City, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Ajax
Pot 2: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Tottenham Hotspur
Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter, Napoli, Sporting Lisbon, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica
Pot 4: Club Brugge, Celtic, Marseille, Maccabi Haifa, Viktoria Plzen, Rangers, Dinamo Zagreb, Copenhagen
Welcome to the Champions League group stage draw
Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are tuned in from.
One thing that we all have in common is the anticipation of an exciting group stage draw.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs could all be in for a tough group if luck is not on their side.
But equally, the four English sides will put themselves favourites to qualify no matter who stands in front of them as they have all either won this competition or been in the final.
Keep refreshing the page folks as we will have all the latest gossip and news ahead of what is set to be a scintillating draw.