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Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Man Utd & Liverpool - Who can they draw in the Champions League?

The qualification rounds are finally over and on Thursday, the Premier League clubs will learn what sides they will face in the group stage of the Champions League.

The 32 teams that are participating in the tournament are split up into four pots of eight. These pots are seeded, with the first pot containing the title winners of the top seven ranked countries. The reigning champion, Real Madrid, is always included, so because Spain are already in the top seven, Shakhtar Donestk from Ukraine are in the seeded pot this year.

The next three pots are not determined by the place that the club finished in the previous season. Instead, they are ranked on coefficient points, which are calculated from the club's performance in Europe over the past five years.

This explains why Tottenham, who finished second in the Premier League, are in Pot Three, where as Manchester United and Manchester City, who both finished below Spurs, are placed in Pot Two.

Also remember that teams from the same country cannot be drawn in the same group.


What pots are they in then?

Chelsea, the champions from last season, are in Pot One. Along with them is Real Madrid, Monaco, Juventus, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk.

The aforementioned Manchester clubs are in Pot Two; they're accompanied by Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Porto.

Tottenham and Liverpool, who secured qualification on Wednesday, are joined by Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma and Besiktas in Pot Three.

Scottish champions Celtic lead Pot Four and they're joined by CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag and RB Leipzig.


What is the best/worst possible scenario for each club?


Chelsea

Chelsea return to the competition after a one-year absence. The English champions have the luxury of being in Pot One, which rules out facing Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. However, the door is still open for PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli or Roma to book a clash with the Londoners. Given the dearth of players in the Chelsea squad at the moment, Antonio Conte will be hoping he draws the likes of Anderlecht and Champions League debutante Qarabag, from Azerbaijan.

Best: Porto, Anderlecht, Qarabag

Worst: PSG, Napoli, Celtic


Manchester United, Manchester City

Probably just as fortunate as Chelsea because of the teams that are in their pot, Man City and Man Utd will, fortunately for them, avoid the likes of Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid. Drawing either Bayern, Real or Juventus from Pot One would be a disappointment, but they still face a good chance of advancing with a reasonably weak Pot Three - except for the Italian pair of Napoli and Roma. Both sides are tipped as favourites for the Premier League this season and it will be interesting too see if a difficult group stage can cause problems domestically.

Best: Sparktak Moscow, Anderlecht, Qarabag

Worst: Real Madrid, Napoli, Celtic


Tottenham, Liverpool

There are a lot of dangers for these two, with both Pot One and Two filled with difficult teams. Tottenham will be hoping luck is on their side and they miss the big fish in Pot One and Pot Two or else it will be a repeat of last season, when Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen advanced in their group. Liverpool, fresh off a resounding play-off victory over Hoffenheim, will be entering the group stage filled with excitement after missing out on the tournament for the past three seasons. Jurgen Klopp's experience in this competition, having made the final with Borussia Dortmund in 2013, will be pivotal to how far they can go.

Best: Spartak Moscow, Porto, Qarabag

Worst: Real Madrid, PSG, Celtic


When does the draw take place?

The draw takes place on Thursday August 24 at roughly 5pm BST time.


When does the competition begin?

The opening games take place on September 12/13. The dates for the other match-days are September 26/27, October 17/18, October 31/November 1, November 21/22 and December 5/6.

About the author

Freddie Taylor

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