Clubs await fate in Champions league draw

Celtic, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and holders Chelsea will learn their UEFA Champions League opponents when the draw for the group phase is held on Thursday.

Join in Sky Sports’ live chat for full coverage this afternoon and watch the draw live on Sky Sports News from 4.30pm.

There is a possibility the title winners from England, Spain, Italy and Germany could all be drawn together in the same group.

The worst-case scenario for Manchester City would see the Premier League champions having to face Real Madrid of the Primera Liga, Italian champions Juventus and German Bundesliga winners Borussia Dortmund.

City will be the only English club not among the top seeds for the draw in Monaco – despite being domestic champions, Roberto Mancini’s side still have a relatively low UEFA co-efficient meaning they will be among the pot of eight second seeds, while European champions Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are in the pot of eight top seeds.

City could therefore also be drawn in the same group as European powerhouses such as Barcelona or Bayern Munich, which would make the task of qualifying for the knockout stages that much harder.

There are potentially dangerous opponents among the third seeds and fourth seeds too – Juve are third seeds and Dortmund the side to avoid among the fourth seeds.

City suffered from being ranked as third seeds last season when they ended up third in a group containing Bayern, Napoli and Villarreal.

Porto are the lowest-ranked club among the top seeds, and City would hope to be in their group and avoid the bigger guns among the third and fourth seeds.

But whatever the outcome of the draw, Manchester United’s experiences of last season stand as a warning about anyone expecting an easy ride. United’s group last term appeared the easiest on paper, yet Sir Alex Ferguson’s men failed to qualify for the knockout stages.

The financial rewards from progressing into the latter stages are significant – Chelsea’s share of TV and prize money was 60million euros (£47.5m) from going on to win the competition, while Manchester City’s was 26million euro (£20m).

The draw will see the 32 clubs drawn into four groups – each group will have one top seed, one second seed, one third seed and one fourth seed.

The four clubs in each group will play each other home and away with the top two progressing to the knockout stage of the tournament, while the third-placed side goes into the knockout stage of the Europa League.

None of the Premier League sides can be drawn in a group with another English club, but there could be British opposition with Celtic among the fourth seeds.


Pot One: Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Porto, AC Milan.

Pot Two: Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kiev.

Pot Three: Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris St Germain, Lille, Galatasaray.

Pot Four: Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, Malaga, Montpellier, FC Nordsjaelland.