Hosts Pedro Pinto and Reshmin Chowdhury have taken to the stage in Istanbul. Two minutes in, and they’ve already cued up the first montage. While that spools across the continent, here are the clubs most likely to win this year’s Champions League, according to bookmaker aggregation site Oddschecker: Manchester City are favourites, followed by PSG, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Internazionale, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund. Let’s see if any of that changes once the draw has been made.
It’s Football Weekly Extra’s turn to contemplate the group stage of the draw. Colin McMillan from Rangers podcast Heart and Hand join Max, Barry et al to share just how big this is for the Light Blues.
Current and previous winners in the draw: Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Ajax, Internazionale, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Porto, Celtic, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund.
Previous finalists hoping to go one better at last: Atletico Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, Brugge, Tottenham Hotspur, PSG, Manchester City.
More on that television pairing thing. We might as well, we’ve got time to kill. To make sure certain clubs from the same country don’t clutter up the TV schedule on the same day, Uefa have made 11 pairings. All eight groups are distinguished by colour – A to D red, E to H blue – and when a paired club is drawn in, say, one of the red groups, the computer will make sure the other paired club is assigned blue. Head hurts. The pairings are as follows:
Real Madrid and Barcelona
Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig
Manchester City and Liverpool
AC Milan and Napoli
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
PSG and Marseille
Porto and Benfica
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur
Juventus and Internazionale
Atletico Madrid and Sevilla
Rangers and Celtic
Today’s Fiver has been contemplating the upcoming draw, and is brought to you in English, Serbian and Hebrew. Subscribe now! Pretplati se sada? הירשם עכשיו!
The schedule. This year’s group stage is being squeezed into a nine-week window, as opposed to the usual three months. The things we do for Qatar. The first matchday is on Tuesday 6 September, the final one on Wednesday 2 November. Here are the dates for your diary …
Matchday 1: September 6 and 7
Matchday 2: September 13 and 14
Matchday 3: October 4 and 5
Matchday 4: October 11 and 12
Matchday 5: October 25 and 26
Matchday 6: November 1 and 2
… then after everyone’s run themselves into the ground at the World Cup, the competition resumes later than normal. Here’s how the rest of it pans out:
Round of 16: February 14 and 15; March 7 and 8
Round of 16: February 21 and 22; March 14 and 15
Quarter finals: April 11 and 12; April 18 and 19
Semi-finals: May 9 and 10; May 16 and 17
Then the final on Saturday 10 June 2023, at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. As a great man once wondered after pondering the mechanics of an unnecessarily complicated draw: who’s that gonna be?
The draw for the group stage of the 2022-23 Champions League takes place at the Ataturk stadium in Istanbul this evening. The seeded pots look like this …
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, Manchester City, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain, Porto, Ajax
Pot 2: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Tottenham
Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund, Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale, Napoli, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Bayer Leverkusen
Pot 4: Rangers, Marseille, Copenhagen, Bruges, Celtic, Viktoria Plzen, Maccabi Haifa, Dinamo Zagreb
… and the usual rules apply. Teams from Pot 1 will be drawn into Groups A to H, then teams from the next three Pots in turn are plucked from the bowls of destiny. When a team from Pots 2, 3 and 4 are picked, a computer immediately dumps them into the first available group, taking restrictions into account. Those being: two teams from the same country can’t face each other, while certain pairings from the same country must play on different nights for TV purposes. Don’t ask, life’s too short, that’s why the computer’s going to deal with it.
The draw is scheduled to begin at 7pm in Istanbul, which is 5pm BST. It won’t, of course, there will be a spirit-sapping amount of pomp, pish, faff and filler before anyone deigns to get down to business. But as soon as those damn balls are plucked, pulled apart, the paper within them unspooled, the names on the paper read out, and the teams assigned to groups, you’ll be the first to know. It’s on!