The Champions League entrants are almost confirmed, after a few more qualifying games, we should know which teams are going to take part in the most prestigious club tournament in the world. Apart from being crowned European Champions, the Champions League also provides teams with huge prize money and making it into the tournament can really save a club from financial problems, well at least the clubs not from the big leagues in Europe.
New rules = Better groups?
The Champions League from this season onwards will be applying new rules to create the pots of teams. There are four pots with eight teams in each, earlier the top seeds in the first pot were the clubs who performed the best in recent years. This season onwards, the Champions from the top leagues are the highest seeds. This should help create better and equally strong groups.
The first pot consists of the following teams:
Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit St. Petersburg, PSV Eindhoven.
Barcelona are of course the Champions who will be looking to defender their crown. There is another first in this season’s Champions League with five Spanish clubs participating in the competition. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla all qualified while Valencia defeated Monaco in the qualifying round.
Glory glory England
There will be four representatives from England as long as Manchester United can overcome Club Brugge in the second leg and having a two goal lead, it should not be a problem for the English club. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal will be hoping to perform better than they did last season and we look at the teams they could face in the group stage of the Champions League.
The Champions of England cannot face any of the other seven Champions from pot one, which will be of some relief to Jose Mourinho’s men after their indifferent start to the season. They could still end up facing Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Valencia from pot two. They could even face Lyon or Roma from pot three and Wolfsburg or Borussia Monchengladbach from pot four.
The Gunners will be in pot two and will thus avoid the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Porto but they have the real prospect of ending up playing someone from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG or could face an easier team in PSV Eindhoven as one of the Champions from pot 1. The same options remain for the other pot numbers for Arsenal, as long as two clubs are not from the same country.
City are also sitting in the second pot and will be hopeful of a better performance in this season’s competition. They have the exact same permutations of teams in their group as Arsenal but will be hoping to avoid any of the big guns from pot 1.
Manchester United will be placed in pot two and they would have the same group possibilities as Arsenal and Manchester City. Louis van Gaal could face a reunion with his former club Barcelona or Bayern Munich if United are paired with one of the Champions from pot 1.
Here are all the teams from the remaining pots:
Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Porto Valencia, Manchester City (two from Manchester United, Bayern Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla)
Pot 3: Lyon, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, Galatasaray, Roma (two from Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Sporting Lisbon, CSKA Moscow, Lazio, Bruges, Apoel, BATE)
Pot 4: Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gent, Malmo (two from Apoel Nicosia, BATE, Partizan Belgrade, Astana)
English teams can face any of the teams from pot 3 and pot 4.