The Champions League Group Stage draw will take place this Thursday (01/10/20) at 16:00 BST, on BT Sport 1 beginning at 15:45.
Although this year the knockout stages and the final were delayed, for the coming season, the final will take place, as usual in May. The date is 29/05/21, and with any luck we will find our Blues in Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium on that date (fingers crossed!).
As per usual, teams have been split into four pots respectably with Manchester City in pot two with Manchester United and Chelsea, while Liverpool are in pot one. In the first pot, the current holders of both the Champions League and Europa League alongside the top six European clubs from the association leagues. The following pots are based on the clubs’ UEFA coefficient ranking, calculated using previous years European performances. The pots are as follows:
Bayern Munich (GER) (UEFA Champions League holders)
Sevilla (ESP) (UEFA Europa League holders)
Real Madrid (ESP)
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Atlético Madrid (ESP)
Manchester City (ENG)
Manchester United (ENG)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
RB Leipzig (GER)
Inter Milan (ESP)
Dynamo Kiev (UKR)
Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER)
Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR)
Midtjylland (DEN)/ Slavia Prague (CZE) (0-0)
Pot three OR four dependent on play-off results:
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS)
Club Brugge (BEL)
RB Salzburg (AUT)/Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) (2-1)
PAOK (GRE)/Krasnodar (RUS) (1-2)
The final teams for pot three and four will be decided after the final three play-off matches tonight. Midtjylland (DEN) face Slavia Prague (CZE) with an aggregate score of 0-0. PAOK (GRE) are 2-1 down to Krasnodar in the second game and RB Salzburg (AUT) on aggregate are 2-1 up to Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR). The three games all kick-off at 20:00 with all six teams still in with a chance of claiming the final Champions League places.
In accordance with the rules of the competition, teams cannot be drawn against teams in their own league at this stage of the competition. Therefore, City cannot draw Liverpool from pot one.
That leaves the Blue with the possibility of drawing one of the other 7 teams from pot one. Porto (POR) or Zenit (RUS) will be the most favourable draws that Blue’s fans will want to give us a chance of finishing top in the group stage. Sevilla (ESP), arguably, would also not be a bad draw for City, however, it would mean we would come face-to-face with former Blues Fernando and Jesús Navas. In addition, a draw against Sevilla (ESP) would also see us play against Jules Koundé who City were heavily linked with until we signed Portuguese Ruben Dias.
Alternatively, another potential draw would see us placed in a group with Real Madrid (ESP), who we beat 4-2 across 2 legs in the Round of 16 of the competition last season. Although, many City fans may still be wary of this draw understandably as they are La Liga Champions and a club with a rich history in the competition and thus, still a European giant with pedigree the Blues have striven for in the Champions League for years. However, personally, I believe this Real (ESP) would prove a decent draw for City mainly due to the manner in which the way we dismantled home and away in the previous campaign and have proven to many critics that we can joust with these European giants and come out on top.
In my opinion, arguably the worst draw would be German and European champions, Bayern Munich (GER). They made little work of the competition last year with outstanding performances throughout, notably, an 8-2 demolishing of Barcelona (ESP) in last year’s Quarter Finals. Nonetheless, treble-winning Bayern (GER) then took the step of adding another world-class talent, this time being the superbly talented Leroy Sané to their almost perfect squad. With Robert Lewandowski in the best form of his career, who deserved to be recognised with the 2019/20 Ballon D’Or which was unfortunately cancelled due to the current global pandemic. I think it is fair to say on behalf of many City fans, Bayern (GER) are top of the avoid list.
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig (GER), Inter Milan (ITA) and Atalanta (ITA) being in pot three offers the potential for City to again be drawn in a ‘Group of Death’. The worst-case scenario is drawing one of these teams with Bayern Munich (GER). Although, if this were to unfold, our loyal Citizens would undoubtedly give the Blues the support they need to at least come second in the group. Leipzig (GER) who battled through last season’s competition nobly finishing a step further than Manchester City last year by reaching the semi-finals. However, this campaign we will fancy our chances due to the departure of Timo Werner to Chelsea (ENG), who was Leipzig’s (GER) star player in the 2019/2020 season.
The only draw from pot four that could spell trouble for the Blues would be Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER). On the face of it, the Germans wouldn’t be an awful draw as they are currently 61st on the European coefficient ranking, although this is due to the fact, they have only been in European competitions three time in the past five seasons. However, they are a club that finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season so certainly won’t be the ‘whipping boys’ of the group and not to mention the difficulty in learning how to spell and pronounce their name which may be more of a challenge for us!
Let’s hope Manchester United draw the ‘Group of Death’ and us Cityzen’s cruise through to the next round top of our group!
What do you think would be the ideal draw for our boys in blue?