Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Champions League Draw: What to Expect from the Group Stage

how does champions league draw work

The Champions League draw is a highly anticipated event that determines the fate of the 32 qualified teams in the competition’s group stage. Last season, we witnessed thrilling clashes as football giants were drawn into the same groups. But how does the draw actually work? And what restrictions are in place to ensure fair and exciting matchups? Let’s find out.

How Does the Draw Work?

The 32 teams are divided into four pots, with each group containing one team from each pot. These pots represent the teams’ rankings within Europe. Pot one comprises the previous season’s Champions League and Europa League winners, along with the top six divisions’ champions in Europe. Pots two, three, and four are determined by clubs’ UEFA coefficients.

To distribute match schedules evenly, countries with two clubs in the group stage, like Scotland and the Netherlands, will be paired to split their matches between Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Similarly, if a country has four representatives, such as England, two pairings will be made based on TV audiences.

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The draw process begins with teams from pot 1 being drawn into groups A, B, C, and so on. Subsequently, teams from pots 2, 3, and 4 are drawn. After selecting a team, a computer immediately assigns them to the next available group, taking into account TV pairings and restrictions on potential opponents.

Which Teams Cannot Play Each Other?

To ensure fairness and avoid conflicts of interest, two teams from the same football association cannot be drawn into the same group. For example, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, despite being in different pots, cannot be placed together.

However, there are exceptions when it comes to clubs from different countries within the same region. Despite being technically part of the same country, England and Scotland have separate UEFA member associations. Therefore, Scottish clubs like Celtic and Rangers could potentially face English sides in the group stage.

Geographic restrictions also come into play during the draw. Since 2014, Russian and Ukrainian clubs have been prevented from being drawn into the same group due to political tensions. It’s worth noting that this season, Russian teams have been banned from participating in UEFA competitions.

Artwork by Sam Richardson


Q: Can teams from the same association face each other in the knockout stages?
A: Yes, teams from the same association can be drawn against each other in the knockout stages, including the final.

Q: How are the TV pairings determined?
A: TV pairings are based on audience preferences and maximizing viewership for each match.

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Q: Can the same teams meet again in subsequent campaigns?
A: Yes, teams can face each other in future Champions League campaigns, as the draw is conducted annually.


The Champions League draw is a fascinating process that determines the composition of the group stage. It ensures that the top teams from across Europe are evenly distributed, generating excitement and anticipation for fans worldwide. As we eagerly await the upcoming matchups, let’s celebrate the spirit of competition and the universal love for the beautiful game.