The European Champions League draw will take place in Monaco within the next 24 hours. UEFA’s rules will see the 32 qualified teams allocated into eight groups of four. Each will contain a top seed, plus one club from the second, third and fourth pots. These are determined by a UEFA ranking system which makes it virtually impossible to work out who exactly Manchester United will be drawn against BUT there are a number of clubs who will definitely be avoided.
The top two in each group will go through to the last 16 knock out phase while the third placed side will have the consolation of being relegated to the knock out stages of the Europa League. So this is where we stand at the moment.
Premier League rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal will NOT be in the United group. Neither will Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Porto or Inter Milan.
Anyone from Pot two can join them - Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Villarreal, AC Milan, Valencia, Marseille, CSKA Moscow, Benfica.
As will those from Pot three - Zenit St Petersburg, Olympiakos, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Traznipor, Basle, Lille.
And those in Pot four - Borussia Dortmund, Bate, Dinamo Zagreb, Napoli, APOEL, Genk, Otelul Galati, Viktoria Plzen.
All will be revealed in the next few hours but I must admit that these Group Stages can get a little boring. The qualifiers can usually be predicted with a 90 to 100% accuracy so what’s the point of them except for guaranteeing each club a minimum income from at least three home matches.
Give me the uncertainty and excitement of the old ‘Draw from the Hat” knock out competition of years ago – ANYTIME.
What will be your preferred group in the Champions League?