Champions League is going to be the theme of the current season and now that the qualification rounds are finished, we take a look at what could be in store.
The last qualifying matches for the group stage of the Champions League have delivered their verdict. From now on, 32 teams will be taking part in the prestigious European competition.For the French teams, PSG are likely to have a easy start to their Champions League campaign but the same cannot be said of Olympique Lyonnais or Lille OSC.
Almost three months after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid, the tournament is set for its 65th edition. During the summer, we were given a taste of the competition’s preliminary rounds.
Top four teams from the top four championships in Europe (Spain, England, Italy and Germany) are guaranteed participation. France will have three representatives. The likes of Russia, Portugal, Ukraine, Turkey, Austria, Croatia and Serbia will also be represented.
The draw for the Champions League 2019/20 campaign is set to take place in Monaco so we expect representatives from all teams to be there.
In the first pot, we have last season’s winners Liverpool and the Europa League winners Chelsea as well. Champions of the six best-placed countries in the UEFA rankings will also be in pot 1. Spain (FC Barcelona), England (Manchester City), Italy (Juventus), Germany (Bayern Munich), France (Paris Saint-Germain) and Russia (Zenit FK) will be in the pot.
This gives a great advantage to these eight teams as they wouldn’t be facing the top teams (more or less) in the Champions League group stages.
Pot 3 looks great too with eight teams that have a lot of firepower amongst their ranks. Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, SSC Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham Hotspur, Benfica and Ajax Amsterdam make up this pot. These teams will be competing with at least one of the teams from Pot 1.
In pot 3, we have some really solid teams that are used to playing in Europe. Olympique Lyonnais, Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen will make things interesting for any group they’re put it. The remaining teams that make up this pot are Red Bull Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiakos, Club Bruges and Valencia.
While Pot 4 looks to be made up of the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow, KRC Genk, Galatasaray, RB Leipzig, Slavia Prague, Red Star Belgrade, Atalanta Bergamo and Lille, surprises are known to happen in the Champions League.
The draw will sort and classify 32 teams from the four pots in eight groups of four teams.
One of the major highlights of the draw is that Russian and Ukrainian teams will not be put in the same group because of tensions between the two countries.
While many teams outside the first two pots might have a rough ride in the Champions League, French clubs in particular could suffer the most.
Lyon for instance, can be drawn with the top eight teams in Europe and runners up from last season and could constitute a group of death.