UEFA Champions League 2012 Group Stage Draw: Complete Guide

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UEFA Champions League 2012 Group Stage Draw: Complete Guide
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage takes place in Monaco on Thursday, with 32 teams set to discover their fate in the world's premier club football competition.

Last season's champions Chelsea will be seeking to become the first team to retain its European title since AC Milan won back-to-back editions in 1989 and 1990—back in the old format of the European Cup.

Standing in their way will be the usual cast of European football's finest. Barcelona and Real Madrid will be much fancied, as always, while big-spending Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are being tipped by many for a serious run this year.

You can follow Max Towle's live blog of the draw right here, from 12 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.

In the meantime, here's everything you need to know.

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