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

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

The UEFA Champions League trophy
The UEFA Champions League trophy ©UEFA.com

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

Who will be in the group stage?

Who enters when? See the Access List

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

2020/21 UEFA Champions League winners
2020/21 UEFA Europa League winners
4 teams
ENG 4 teams
GER 4 teams
4 teams
FRA 2 teams
POR 2 teams
RUS 1 team
BEL 1 team
UKR 1 team
NED 1 team

This list is subject to final confirmation from UEFA

How does qualifying work?

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

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 will matches and draws take place?

The Champions League anthem
The Champions League anthem

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 & 3/4 May 2022: Semi-finals
28 May 2022: Final

The out-of-this-world Saint Petersburg Stadium will host the final
The out-of-this-world Saint Petersburg Stadium will host the finalAFP via Getty Images

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
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 Saint Petersburg Stadium. 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.