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Excitement builds as draw nears

Anticipation is building at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco as representatives from the 32 UEFA Champions League clubs await the group stage draw.

Monaco setting
Wednesday's 12 victorious sides from the third qualifying round and Tuesday's three winners take their place alongside the 16 automatic entrants in the draw for the eight UEFA Champions League groups. Making their debut at this stage are SK Slavia Praha, having knocked out AFC Ajax on Wednesday evening. Also in the draw are Sevilla FC and AEK Athens FC, who play the second leg of their tie next Monday after a postponement due to the death of Antonio Puerta on Tuesday.

Fixture schedule
The UEFA Champions League group stage will be played on 18/19 September, 2/3 October, 23/24 October, 6/7 November, 27/28 November and 11/12 December, though AC Milan's last game will be on 4 December due to their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup. The winners and runners-up from each pool will progress to the first knockout round in the spring, with the final set for Moscow on 21 May. Teams finishing third in each section will have the consolation of going into the UEFA Cup Round of 32.

Pairings
Where two clubs from the same association have qualified, they are paired to split their matches between Tuesday and Wednesday. In the case of associations with three representatives, only two sides have been paired in terms of their fixtures; in the case of associations with four representatives, two pairings are made. Sevilla and AEK have been paired with two different teams to provide for the eventuality of either side winning. For seeding purposes, the team with the higher coefficient (ie Sevilla FC) take precedence. In order to safeguard the country protection, the pairing will not be drawn against Spanish or Greek teams. Meanwhile, PFC CSKA Moskva and Rosenborg BK will be assigned position one or three in their groups to allow them to play away on Matchday 6 in the hope of avoiding bad weather.

2007/08 UEFA Champions League
Group stage draw - 18.00CET, Thursday
POT 1
TeamPairing
AC Milan (ITA, holders)A
FC Barcelona (ESP)B
Liverpool FC (ENG)C
FC Internazionale Milano (ITA)A
Arsenal FC (ENG)D
Real Madrid CF (ESP)B
Chelsea FC (ENG)D
Manchester United FC (ENG)C

POT 2
TeamPairing
Valencia CF (ESP)E
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)F
FC Porto (POR)
Sevilla FC (ESP) / AEK Athens FC (GRE)E/M
PSV Eindhoven (NED)
AS Roma (ITA)G
SL Benfica (POR)H
Werder Bremen (GER)I

POT 3
TeamPairing
Celtic FC (SCO)J
FC Schalke 04 (GER)
VfB Stuttgart (GER)I
FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU)
PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)H
S.S. Lazio (ITA)G
Olympique de Marseille (FRA)F

POT 4
TeamPairing
Rangers FC (SCO)J
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)K
Beşiktaş JK (TUR)L
Olympiacos CFP (GRE)M
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)K
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)L
SK Slavia Praha (CZE)
Rosenborg BK (NOR)