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UEFA Champions League group stage draw: all you need to know

When is the UEFA Champions League group stage draw? Who’s involved? How does it work? What award winners are being announced during the ceremony?

When is the draw?

The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony begins at 18:00 CET on Thursday 26 August. It is being held in Istanbul, Turkey and will be streamed live on UEFA.com. Special guests Branislav Ivanović and Michael Essien will assist with the draw.

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Who is involved in the draw?

Twenty-six teams qualified automatically for the group stage, with the final six berths being decided via the play-offs.

Atlético reach the group stage as Spanish champions
Atlético reach the group stage as Spanish champions Getty Images

ENG: Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea
ESP
: Atlético, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Villarreal
ITA
: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta, Juventus
GER
: Bayern, Leipzig, Dortmund, Wolfsburg
FRA
: LOSC, Paris
POR: Sporting CP, Porto, Benfica
NED: Ajax
RUS
: Zenit
AUT: Salzburg
BEL
: Club Brugge
UKR: Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk
TUR: Beşiktaş
SUI: Young Boys
SWE: Malmö
MDA: Sheriff

How does the draw work?

The teams will be split into four seeding pots. Pot 1 will consist of the holders, the UEFA Europa League winners and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations who did not qualify via one of the 2020/21 continental titles; Pots 2 to 4 will be determined by the club coefficient rankings.

No team can play a side from their own association. Any other restrictions will be announced ahead of the draw ceremony.

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

In the case of associations with two representatives, clubs will be paired in order to split their matches between Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In the case of associations with four (or more) representatives, two pairings will be made. These pairings are to be based on TV audiences and will be confirmed ahead of the draw ceremony.

Do we know the draw pots?

We do!

Pot 1

Chelsea (ENG) 98.000
Villarreal (ESP) 63.000
Bayern (GER) 134.000
Manchester City (ENG) 125.000
Atlético de Madrid (ESP) 115.000
Inter Milan (ITA) 53.000
Sporting CP (POR) 45.500
LOSC Lille (FRA) 14.000

Pot 2

Real Madrid (ESP) 127.000
Barcelona (ESP) 122.000
Juventus (ITA) 120.000
Manchester United (ENG) 113.000
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 113.000
Liverpool (ENG) 101.000
Sevilla (ESP) 98.000
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 90.000

Pot 3

Porto (POR) 87.000
Ajax (NED) 82.500
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 79.000
Leipzig (GER) 66.000
Salzburg (AUT) 59.000
Benfica (POR) 58.000
Atalanta (ITA) 50.500
Zenit (RUS) 50.000

Pot 4

Beşiktaş (TUR) 49.000
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) 47.000
Club Brugge (BEL) 35.500
Young Boys (SUI) 35.000
AC Milan (ITA) 31.000
Malmö (SWE) 18.500
Wolfsburg (GER) 14.714
Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA) 14.500

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Which clubs are paired?

To ensure that paired clubs from the same country play on separate days where possible, the eight groups will be distinguished by colour: Groups A to D will be red and Groups E to H will be blue. When a paired club is drawn, for example, in one of the red groups (A, B, C or D), the other paired club – once it has been drawn – will automatically be assigned to one of the four blue groups (E, F, G or H). The pairings are as follows:

A Chelsea & Manchester City
B Atlético de Madrid & Sevilla
C Inter & Juventus
D Bayern & Dortmund
E LOSC Lille & Paris Saint-Germain
F Real Madrid & Barcelona
G Man. United & Liverpool
H Porto & Benfica
I Shakhtar & Dynamo Kyiv
J Leipzig & Wolfsburg
K Atalanta & AC Milan

When are the group stage games?

The full fixture list for the group stage will be communicated following the draw. The dates are as follows:

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

Full 2021/22 calendar


What about the 2020/21 award winners?

The following award winners will also be announced during the course of the draw ceremony:

Robert Lewandowski: Men's Player of the Year 2019/20
Robert Lewandowski: Men's Player of the Year 2019/20

UEFA Men's Player of the Year
UEFA Women's Player of the Year
UEFA Men's Coach of the Year
UEFA Women's Coach of the Year

Goalkeeper of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Defender of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Midfielder of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Forward of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season

Goalkeeper of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League season
Defender of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League season
Midfielder of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League season
Forward of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League season

2022 Champions League final

The 2021/22 campaign will conclude on Saturday 28 May, with the final set to take place at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia.