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2021/22 UEFA Champions League: all you need to know

When is the group stage? How does qualifying work? Where is the 2022 final?

The 67th season of Europe's elite club competition, the 30th since it was renamed the UEFA Champions League, runs from 22 June 2021 to 28 May 2022.

Who enters when? See the Access List


Who will be in the group stage?

The 32 teams in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage consists of 26 automatic qualifiers joined by six play-off winners.

2021 final highlights: Man. City 0-1 Chelsea
2021 final highlights: Man. City 0-1 Chelsea

Automatic qualifiers
Ajax (NED)
Atalanta (ITA)
Atlético (ESP)
Barcelona (ESP)
Bayern (GER)
Beşiktaş (TUR)
Chelsea (ENG, holders)
Club Brugge (BEL)
Dortmund (GER)
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
Inter Milan (ITA)
Juventus (ITA)
Leipzig (GER)
Liverpool (ENG)
LOSC (FRA)
Manchester City (ENG)
Manchester United (ENG)
Milan (ITA)
Paris (FRA)
Porto (POR)
Real Madrid (ESP)
Sevilla (ESP)
Sporting CP (POR)
Villarreal (ESP, UEFA Europa League winners)
Wolfsburg (GER)
Zenit (RUS)

This list is subject to final confirmation from UEFA

How does qualifying work?

The Champions League anthem
The Champions League anthem

In 2020/21, qualifying was truncated following the late finish to the previous campaign, with all ties prior to the play-offs played as single-leg matches. All being well, 2021/22 will see a return to the home and away format from the first qualifying round onwards.

To see who enters in which round, and how eliminated teams transfer to the UEFA Europa League and new UEFA Europa Conference League, consult the Access List.

When do matches and draws take place?

Qualifying
22 June 2021: Preliminary round semi-finals
25 June 2021: Preliminary round final
6/7 & 13/14 July 2021: First qualifying round
20/21 & 27/28 July 2021: Second qualifying round
3/4 & 10 August 2021: Third qualifying round
17/18 & 24/25 August 2021: Play-offs

Group stage
14/15 September 2021: Matchday 1
28/29 September 2021: Matchday 2
19/20 October 2021: Matchday 3
2/3 November 2021: Matchday 4
23/24 November 2021: Matchday 5
7/8 December 2021: Matchday 6

Knockout phase
15/16/22/23 February & 8/9/15/16 March 2022: Round of 16
5/6 & 12/13 April 2022: Quarter-finals
26/27 April & 3/4 May 2022: Semi-finals
28 May 2022: Final

The out-of-this-world Gazprom Arena will host the final
The out-of-this-world Gazprom Arena will host the final

Draws
8 June 2021: Preliminary round
15 June 2021: First qualifying round
16 June 2021: Second qualifying round
19 July 2021: Third qualifying round
2 August 2021: Play-off round
26 August 2021: Group stage (Istanbul, Turkey)
13 December 2021: Round of 16
18 March 2022: Quarter-finals & Semi-finals

All draws start at 12:00 CET except the group stage draw, which begins at 18:00 CET.

Where will the final take place?

The final will take place at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The distinct venue on Krestovsky Island was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, whose vision was for a spaceship that had landed on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. It has been home to Zenit since 2017.

No more away goals rule

There has been a rule change for 2021/22: ties level after the second leg will go to extra time and a penalty shoot-out if required, irrespective of the number of away goals a team has scored.