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How much do seedings matter?

In the run-up to every group stage draw, the focus is on which of the four pots the 32 teams will be placed in: UEFA.com analyses how seedings have translated into results.

Monaco reached the final from Pot 4 in 2004 and last season's quarters after a similar seeding
Monaco reached the final from Pot 4 in 2004 and last season's quarters after a similar seeding ©Getty Images

In the run-up to every UEFA Champions League draw, the focus is always on which of the four seeding pots the 32 contenders will be placed in.

The system has changed this year with Pot 1 not decided by coefficients but rather consisting of the champions of the eight top-ranked nations. The other pots, as usual, are decided by coefficients, meaning both Madrid clubs will be in Pot 2 while Roma and Wolfsburg are among the sides in Pots 3 or 4.

But how do the seedings actually influence things once the groups have been played? UEFA.com investigates, using every one of the 64 seeding pots consisting of eight teams apiece since the group stage expanded to 32 clubs in 1999/2000.


Reached next stage
Transferred to UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League

Pot 1
1st: 72 teams from Pot 1 won their group (56%), 2nd: 38 were runners-up (30%), 3rd: 9 finished third (7%), 4th, 9 came fourth (7%)

Pot 2
1st: 32 (25%), 2nd: 50 (39%), 3rd: 26 (20%), 4th, 20 (16%)

Pot 3
1st: 15 (12%), 2nd: 24 (19%), 3rd: 49 (38%), 4th, 40 (31%)

Pot 4
1st: 9 (7%), 2nd: 16 (13%), 3rd: 44 (34%), 4th: 59 (46%)

(% may add up to 99 or 101 due to rounding)

Best years
Pot 1
• In 2002/03 seven sides from Pot 1 finished top of their groups, while each year from 2005/06 to 2008/09, and again in 2010/11, all eight went through.

Last season Monaco made the quarter-finals from Pot 4
Last season Monaco made the quarter-finals from Pot 4©Getty Images

Pot 2
• In 2004/05 five teams topped their groups, while in 2006/07 all eight went through, just as for Pot 1.

Pot 3
• In 1999/2000 three clubs won their groups while last term a record six progressed, five as runners-up.

Pot 4
• In 2000/01 and 2001/02, and again in 2012/13, two of the eight came top. In 2001/02 a record four advanced to the next stage.

Worst year
Pot 1
• Three sides failed to get through during the first 32-team season of 1999/2000, and in 2000/01 a record two teams ended up fourth.

Pot 2
• In 2012/13, five of the clubs in the pot failed to proceed to the knockout rounds. In the last five years, as well as three seasons previously, two finished bottom.

Pot 3
• In 2006/07 all eight teams failed to survive the group phase, though only two were fourth, compared with five in 2003/04.

Pot 4
• 2013/14 was the fourth time (all in the past eight campaigns) when no sides went through, and the third occasion after 2006/07 and 2010/11 where six ranked last.

• Until Benfica last season, no club from Pot 1 had placed fourth since Manchester United in 2005/06; before that, at least one always had.

• Five of the nine instances of Pot 4 teams winning their groups came between 2000/01 and 2002/03. All four subsequent to that are since 2011/12.

• Last season Groups A, B, F and G finished in seeding order. Group C ended in the exact reverse order with bottom-ranked Monaco in first, third seeds Bayer Leverkusen runners-up, Pot 2 pick Zenit in third and top-rated Benfica coming last.

• Twelve of the last 16 winners began the competition in Pot 1. The exceptions were AC Milan (2002/03, 3), Porto (2003/04, 2), Liverpool (2004/05, 2) and Internazionale Milano (2009/10, 2) – two of those coached by José Mourinho, who has never got to the final from Pot 1.

• Nine of the last 16 runners-up were in Pot 1. The exceptions were Valencia (1999/2000, 3), Bayer Leverkusen (2001/02, 3), Monaco (2003/04, 4), Milan (2004/05, 2), Borussia Dortmund (2012/13, 4), Atlético Madrid (2013/14, 2) and Juventus (2014/15, 2).

• Seven finals (2000/01, 2005/06–2008/09 and 2010/11–2011/12) contained two top seeds. Two (2003/04 and 2004/05) featured none.

• Five of the six finals that have gone to penalties in the past 15 years were between two teams from the same seeding pot (2002/03 the exception).