The group stage draw for 2018/19 will take place at the very end of August (Picture: Getty)With four Premier League teams now assured of their place in next season’s Champions League, clubs can begin thinking about who they might play in next season’s competition.
Unlike previous seasons, all qualified clubs from the big four leagues – Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga – will go straight into the group stage, avoiding the play-offs entirely.
That means, even if Liverpool fail to win the Champions League, they will still go straight into the group phase courtesy of their fourth place league finish.
There are already 21 teams from around Europe who have secured their place in the group stages (out of 26 automatic qualifiers, and 32 total), and more who will play in the qualifying rounds, and the pots are starting to take shape…
POTS AS THINGS STAND
BarcelonaBayern MunichManchester CityJuventusParis Saint-GermainLokomotiv MoscowWinners of Champions League Winners of Europa League
Borussia Dortmund (89.000)Porto (86.000)Manchester United (82.000)Shakhtar Donetsk (81.000)Napoli (78.000)?????????
Roma (64.000)Schalke (62.000)CSKA Moscow (45.000)???????????????
Valencia (36.000)Club Brugge (29.500)Hoffenheim (14.285)???????????????
Real Madrid (160.000)Atletico Madrid (138.000)Benfica* (80.000)Basel* (71.000)Tottenham (67.000)Liverpool (62.000)Salzburg* (55.000)Ludogorets Razgrad* (37.000)PSV* (36.000)Celtic* (31.000)
The champions’ pot (Pot 1) is complete, aside from the identities of the winners of the Champions League and Europa League. As none of the four clubs involved in the two finals are their domestic league’s champion, there will only be six title winners in the first pot; last season, the Europa League winner was not seeded in pot 1, while Real Madrid had won the title, meaning Portugal and Ukraine both got a spot in the champions’ pot.
Manchester City and Manchester United are the only Premier League teams locked into their pots at present. Pep Guardiola’s side are seeded in pot 1 for the very first time – meaning they avoid the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus – while United will be in pot 2 once again, and will no doubt be hoping they draw Lokomotiv! All teams in the ‘unconfirmed pot’ with an asterisk need to come through qualifying to make the group stage.
The final four guaranteed spots in the group stage will go to: the second-placed team in France (currently Monaco – 57.000), the fourth-placed team in Italy (currently Lazio – 41.000), the champions of Turkey (currently Galatasaray – 29.500) and the champions of Czech Republic (currently Viktoria Plzen – 33.000).
HOW LIVERPOOL CAN AFFECT TOTTENHAM’S POT
If Liverpool win the Champions League, they will be seeded in pot 1 (Picture: Getty)Both Liverpool and Tottenham will have to wait until after the Champions League final to learn which pot they will be in. If the Merseysiders – who have a lower coefficient than Tottenham – win the competition they will leapfrog them into pot 1. If they lose, they will be in pot 3. Not only do Spurs need Real Madrid to win, but they also need their neighbours Atletico Madrid to triumph in the Europa League final. Atletico have a mammoth coefficient score while Marseille’s is less than Tottenham’s.
If both Liverpool and Marseille (who are one point outside the third and final Champions League place in Ligue 1) win their respective finals, Spurs will be in pot 3. If only one of those teams triumphs, then Spurs can still sneak into pot 2 if both Benfica and Basel – the only two teams with higher coefficients – get knocked out in the qualifying rounds.
WHEN IS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW?
Incredibly, the preliminary round draw for the Champions League – which features teams from Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar and Kosovo – takes place before the World Cup has even started, with matches scheduled in the middle of the tournament. The first qualifying round, which will involve Celtic, also overlaps with the World Cup, though the play-off proper is not until the end of August.
No Premier League clubs will have to worry about that, though, with all four sides going straight in the group stages. The draw for the group stage will take place on Thursday August 30th in Monaco, not the usual location of Nyon, with the first matches played in the middle of September.
More: Manchester United FC