SOCCER | CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

2021/2022 Champions League group stage: draws, seeds, rules, teams

Thursday 26 Sept sees the group stage draw for the 2021/22 competition taking place in Istanbul where the 32 participants will discover their opponents.

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2021/2022 Champions League group stage: draws, seeds, rules, teams
HAROLD CUNNINGHAM AFP

The eyes of the footballing world will be firmly fixed on Istanbul on Thursday 26 August as the draw for the group stage of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League will be held.

32 participating sides will discover their group stage opposition in a gala event where a series of Player and Coach of the Year awards will also be presented.

UCL: 29 qualified sides

29 teams have already confirmed their place in Thursday's draw with the final three places set to be confirmed via the final set of play-off games on Wednesday evening.

The 29 names in Thursday's draw are: 

Spain: Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Villarreal (UEFA UEL Winners)

England: Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea

Germany: Bayern, RB Leipzig, Dortmund, Wolfsburg

Italy: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta, Juventus

France: LOSC Lille, Paris Saint-Germain

Portugal: Sporting CP, Porto, Benfica

Russia: Zenit

Belgium: Club Brugge

Ukraine: Dynamo Kyiv

Netherlands:Ajax

Turkey: Beşiktaş

Switzerland: Young Boys

Sweden: Malmo

Kylian Mbappe, Achraf HakimiPSG's Kylian Mbappe, left, celebrates with teammate PSG's Achraf Hakimi after scoring his side's second goal during a French League One soccer match between Brest and PSG at the Francis-Le Ble stadium in Brest, France, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Mbappe scored once in PSG's 4-2 victory. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Draw restrictions

No sides from the same country can be placed in the same group and political tension between Russia and Ukraine will guarantee that Zent and Dynamo Kyiv are kept apart in the group stage. This will be the first time that away goals will not count as double in the case of a tie in the knockout stage with extra time and penalty kicks set to be used should sides be locked after home and away legs.

Seeding via UEFA coefficient

Once the 32 sides are known, their current UEFA coefficient will determine which of the four pots they will be placed in. At present only Pot 1 has been confirmed with Pot 1 containing the UEFA Champions League holders, the UEFA Europa League holders and the champions of the top six-ranked associations (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal).

Champions League 2021/22 key dates

The group stage will commence on September with all 32 sides setting their sights on the 28 May (2022) final that will be staged in Saint Petersburg (Russia).

The draw for the Round of 16 will be staged on 13 December with the competition resuming on February 15.

The semi-finals will be staged on 26/27 April with the return legs on 3/4 May.