All you need to know: 2018/19 UEFA Champions League

The 2018/19 edition kicks off on 26 June and ends in Madrid on 1 June 2019. Here's the who, what, where and when.

All you need to know: 2018/19 UEFA Champions League
All you need to know: 2018/19 UEFA Champions League ©Getty Images

When does it start?

The action gets under way on 26 June – exactly one month after Real Madrid were crowned champions for the 13th time in Kyiv – with the semi-finals of the new preliminary round (draw 12 June). Three further qualifying rounds follow before the play-offs at the end of August to confirm the group stage line-up. That phase begins on 18 September and runs every two or three weeks until 12 December. The knockout stages begin on 12 February, with the season culminating in Madrid on 1 June.

How does qualifying work?

The preliminary round takes place in Gibraltar
The preliminary round takes place in Gibraltar©

Twenty-six of the 32 teams that will contest the 2018/19 group stage are confirmed, and they will be joined by six play-off winners in August. Those six sides will come through one of these qualifying paths:

  • Champions route – this path is for domestic title holders, starting with the four lowest-ranked nations in the preliminary round (played as a knockout mini-tournament in Gibraltar). The victors are joined by the next 31 lowest-ranked teams in the first qualifying round, with the next four sides added at the following stage. The ten winners plus another two new entrants then face off in the third qualifying round, with the triumphant six then joined by two more sides in four play-off ties. Excluding the preliminary round, all ties are played over two legs, home and away.
  • League route – there are three rounds in all. Four teams start in the second qualifying round, with the two winners joined by six more sides in the next phase. Four teams reach the play-offs, with two ties determining who makes it through to the group stage. All ties are played over two legs, home and away.

  • UEFA rankings: association club coefficients

Who's already in the group stage?

Watch highlights of Real Madrid's 2018 triumph
Watch highlights of Real Madrid's 2018 triumph

ESP: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia
: Bayern München, Schalke, Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund
ENG: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool
ITA: Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Internazionale Milano
FRA: Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Lyon
RUS: Lokomotiv Moskva, CSKA Moskva
POR: Porto
UKR: Shakhtar Donetsk
BEL: Club Brugge
TUR: Galatasaray
CZE: Viktoria Plzeň

What else is new?

So there's a preliminary round mini-tournament in Gibraltar, but what else is changing? Well, you'll be able to watch more games than ever before thanks to new staggered kick-off times of 18:55CET and 21:00CET.

When are the draws?

The new UEFA Champions League branding
The new UEFA Champions League branding©

12 June: Preliminary round draw, Nyon
19 June: First & second qualifying round draws, Nyon
23 July: Third qualifying round draw, Nyon
6 August: Play-off round draw, Nyon
30 August: Group stage draw, Monaco
17 December: Round of 16 draw, Nyon
15 March: Quarter-final and semi-final draws, Nyon

Are the group stage seedings known?*

Pot 1 is formed of the holders, UEFA Europa League winners and champions of the top six national associations. The remaining three pots will be formed as per the UEFA club coefficient rankings at the end of 2017/18.

Pot 1: Real Madrid (holders), Atlético Madrid (UEFA Europa League winners), Bayern München, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Lokomotiv Moskva
Pot 2: Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, 2 TBC
Pot 3: Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, CSKA Moskva, 4 TBC
Pot 4: Internazionale Milano, Hoffenheim, 6 TBC

Liverpool lost the 2018 final in Kyiv
Liverpool lost the 2018 final in Kyiv©Getty Images

Depending on who the qualifiers are, Roma and Liverpool could be in Pot 2 or 3, while Valencia, Viktoria Plzeň, Club Brugge and Galatasaray will be in Pot 3 or 4.

Where is the final?

The 2019 final will be at the Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid – the home of Atlético Madrid since the start of the 2017/18 campaign. The game is scheduled for Saturday 1 June 2019, kick-off 21:00CET.

*Please note that these are not official; rather, an editor's calculations

All information and teams subject to final approval from UEFA