We take a closer look at the teams Chelsea could be drawn against in this evening’s Champions League draw in Turkey…
he Blues are bidding for glory in Europe’s premier club competition for the third time and our path to Istanbul will become a little clearer later today when the group stage draw is made.
The draw is scheduled to take place at 5pm UK time in the Turkish capital, the host for this year’s final after the past two editions scheduled there were relocated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the qualifying play-offs for this season’s Champions League concluding last night, all 32 teams participating in this season’s competition and their respective seedings have now been confirmed. You can find out which ones Chelsea are likely to face below.
How does the draw work?
The 32 qualified teams have been split into four different pots based on their seeding. The Blues are second seeds this year in Pot 2 alongside fellow Premier League sides Liverpool and Tottenham, meaning we will face one of the top seeds from Pot 1.
That comprises the Champions League holders (Real Madrid), the UEFA Europa League winners (Eintracht Frankfurt) and the reigning champions of the six highest-ranked nations who did not qualify via one of the 2021/22 titles. Pots 2, 3 and 4 are seeded based on individual teams’ standings within the UEFA club coefficient standing.
We cannot face another side from Pot 2, while UEFA rules separate clubs from the same country prior to the quarter-finals, meaning Chelsea cannot be drawn against any English sides, and also cannot have more than one team from any individual nation in our four-team group, regardless of seedings.
How are the seedings decided?
UEFA coefficients are basically rankings used for seeding teams in club and international competitions. Clubs earn points towards their coefficient based on how well they perform in the Champions League, Europa League and, from last season, the UEFA Conference League. For example, in the Champions League, clubs are awarded four points each for reaching the group stage and last 16, as well as two points for a win and one for a draw in the knockout stages.
Points accumulated over the last five seasons are added together to provide a club’s coefficient, although if their total is lower than the average number of points earned by teams from their nation in the previous season, they will be seeded using the latter instead. That is usually only required for teams who have not been regular participants in European competition in recent years.
Chelsea are currently ranked fifth using this coefficient measure, just behind Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. That has improved dramatically from a year ago, when we were joint-11th, now that our absence from European competition in 2016/17 is no longer included in the calculation.
Who can we face from Pot 1?
AC Milan (Italy), Ajax (Netherlands), Bayern Munich (Germany), Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Manchester City (England), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Porto (Portugal), Real Madrid (Spain)
Unsurprisingly there are no possible new opponents in Pot 1, although we haven’t met AC Milan since our maiden Champions League voyage, in 1999/00, and Eintracht Frankfurt would be fresh foes in this competition.
Who are the other teams in Pot 2?
Atletico Madrid (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Chelsea (England), Juventus (Italy), Liverpool (England), RB Leipzig (Germany), Sevilla (Spain), Tottenham (England)
Who should we watch out for in Pot 3?
Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Benfica (Portugal), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Inter Milan (Italy), Napoli (Italy), Red Bull Salzburg (Austria), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)
We have never met Borussia Dortmund or Red Bull Salzburg in a competitive fixture. Shakhtar Donetsk are playing their home group stage games in Warsaw because of the war in Ukraine. We last played Inter in 2010, while Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli and Benfica were all beaten en route to glory two years later.
Any dark horses in Pot 4?
Club Bruges (Belgium), Celtic (Scotland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Maccabi Haifa (Israel), Marseille (France), Rangers (Scotland), Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)
Plenty of possible new faces for us here – indeed, we have only met Club Bruges, Copenhagen and Marseille in a competitive game before, although we played at Maccabi Haifa’s Sammy Ofer Stadium when we took on their compatriots Maccabi Tel-Aviv in 2015.
It is the first time since 2008 both Rangers and Celtic have qualified for the Champions League group stage.
Where can I follow the draw?
The draw begins at 5pm (UK time) today and will be shown live on BT Sport and via a stream on UEFA’s website. We’ll also be bringing you all the latest information here on the official Chelsea website as well as The 5th Stand app and our social media channels.
When are the Champions League group stage rounds scheduled for?
All six group fixtures will be played over an eight-week period this autumn due to the mid-season scheduling of the FIFA World Cup. The first two games will take place before the September international break, with the remaining four over five weeks in October and early November.
Matchday 1: 6/7 September
Matchday 2: 13/14 September
Matchday 3: 4/5 October
Matchday 4: 11/12 October
Matchday 5: 25/26 October
Matchday 6: 1/2 November