The 2017/18 UEFA Champions League season is under way, a 334-day journey that ends in Kyiv next May. Get the lowdown on the who, what, where and when.
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When does it start?
It already has! The new season kicked off on 27 June – just 21 days after Real Madrid were crowned champions in Cardiff – with the first of four qualifying rounds, culminating in the play-offs at the end of August. The group stage begins on 12 September and runs every two or three weeks until 6 December. After a two-month winter break, the knockout stages start on 13 February.
How does qualifying work?
Twenty-two of the 32 teams that will contest this season's title are confirmed, and they will be joined by ten play-off winners at the end of August. There are two qualifying paths:
- Champions Route – as the name suggests, this path is for domestic title holders, starting with the ten lowest-ranked nations in the first qualifying round. The five victors are joined by the next 29 lowest-ranked champions for the second stage, with the next three sides added for the third qualifying round. The ten winners then face off in five play-off ties. All ties are played over two legs, home and away.
- League Route – this path features sides from high-ranking countries who finished anywhere between second and fourth in their domestic leagues. There are two stages, with ten teams starting out in the third qualifying round and five sides awaiting the victors for the play-offs. All ties are played over two legs, home and away.
Who are the 22 teams already in the group stage?
ESP: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid
GER: Bayern München, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund
ENG: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United
ITA: Juventus, Roma
POR: Benfica, Porto
FRA: Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain
RUS: Spartak Moskva
UKR: Shakhtar Donetsk
When are the draws?
Are the group stage seedings known?*
Pot 1 for the group stage draw is formed by the holders and the champions of the top seven national associations. However, as holders Real Madrid also won the Spanish Liga, the champions of the association ranked eighth are also seeded in Pot 1. The remaining three pots will be formed as per the UEFA club coefficient rankings at the end of 2016/17.
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Bayern, Chelsea, Juventus, Benfica, Monaco, Spartak Moskva, Shakhtar Donetsk
Pot 2: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Dortmund, Manchester City, Porto, Manchester United, 1 TBC
Pot 3: Basel, Anderlecht, 6 TBC
Pot 4: 8 TBC
Depending on who the qualifiers are, Tottenham could be in Pot 2 or 3, while Roma, Beşiktaş, Feyenoord and RB Leipzig will be in Pot 3 or 4.
Where is the final?
The 2018 final will be at NSK Olimpiyskyi Stadium, Kyiv – the stadium that staged the UEFA EURO 2012 final. The game is scheduled for Saturday 26 May 2018, kick-off 20:45CET.
*Please note that these are not official; rather, an editor's calculations