The draw for the 2016/17 UEFA Champions Leauge group stages was held in Monaco on Thursday and possibly the biggest clash this season will see Barcelona and Manchester City in Group C. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola won the title with former club Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 and gets set to face them again following a semi-final knockout in 2015 when he was with Bayern Munich.
Group D will also be another challenging group with Bayern Munich drawn with last season’s finalists Atletico Madrid. Champions Real Madrid saw Borussia Dortmund drawn in their group along with Sporting Lisbon and Legia Warsaw.
The other three English Premier League sides saw relatively easier draws; Arsenal were drawn with Paris Saint-Germain but FC Basel and Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgard were also drawn in the same group. Leicester City were drawn with FC Porto while Tottenham Hotspur’s toughest opponents are probably Bayer Leverkusen even though CSKA Moscow are in their group as well.
32 teams were split into four pots with one team from each pot going into eight groups. With the group stage getting underway on 13 September, the 32 teams will vie for a place in the Round of 16 – on their way to a possible final at the Millennium Stadium in the Welsh city of Cardiff on 3 June 2017.
UEFA had invited the likes of European legends Clarence Seedorf, Ian Rush, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roberto Carlos on stage for the draw. Although it was safe to say that the ceremony lacked the usual excitement with now-FIFA president Gianni Infantino not in charge of proceedings.
Pots for Champions League group stage draw
|POT 1||POT 2||POT 3||POT 4|
|Real Madrid||Atletico Madrid||FC Basel||Celtic|
|Barcelona||Borussia Dortmund||Tottenham Hotspur||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Leicester City||Arsenal||Dynamo Kyiv||Monaco|
|Bayern Munich||Manchester City||Lyon||Besiktas|
|Juventus||Sevilla||PSV Eindhoven||Legia Warsaw|
|Benfica||Porto||Sporting Lisbon||Ludogorets Razgrad|
|Paris Saint-Germain||Napoli||Club Brugge||FC Copenhagen|
|CSKA Moscow||Bayer Leverkusen||Borussia Monchengladbach||Rostov|
Things to know about the UCL group stage draw
- Pot 1 contains the defending champions and league title winners of the seven best associations ranked according to UEFA country coefficients.
- Pots 2, 3 and 4 sees the rest of the teams sorted based on the UEFA club coefficients (Eg. Manchester City have a better club coefficient and are in Pot 2 even though Tottenham Hotspur finished above them in the Premier League last season).
- Teams from the same league cannot be drawn together in the same group.
- Top two from each group qualify for the Round of 16. The third-placed team progresses into the Europa League (Round of 32).
- The first set of group stage games kick off on 13/14 September while the sixth and final game will be played on 6/7 December.
- Sevilla automatically qualified for the Champions League group stage after winning the Europa League.
- Teams from Russia and Ukraine will not be drawn in the same group.
- No more than two teams from one association will play on a Champions League night for TV allocation reasons.
2016/17 Champions League Group Stage Draw
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Paris Saint-Germain||Benfica||Barcelona||Bayern Munich|
|Arsenal||Napoli||Manchester City||Atletico Madrid|
|FC Basel||Dynamo Kyiv||Borussia M’gladbach||PSV Eindhoven|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|CSKA Moscow||Real Madrid||Leicester City||Juventus|
|Bayer Leverkusen||Borussia Dortmund||FC Porto||Sevilla|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Sporting Lisbon||Club Brugge||Lyon|
|AS Monaco||Legia Warsaw||FC Copenhagen||Dinamo Zagreb|