Wednesday night saw the final few Champions League group-stage places confirmed, as the qualifiers joined the big boys in the hat for the 2014/15 campaign.
The draw can go one of two ways—either your team comes out in a friendly group and tattoos start to be planned of the Champions League trophy on your arm, or you get thrown in a group of death and resort to false happiness of your club’s new-found focus on the league.
Either way, it’s bound to be an exciting event, and here, we bring you full details of the draw.
Date: Thursday, August 28
Time: 4:45 p.m. BST/11:45 a.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports News HQ/Eurosport
Live Stream: UEFA Website
Champions League Destinies in the Balance
When it comes to the Champions League, there’s no such thing as an easy draw, only a best-case scenario.
Teams have been blessed with “easy” draws on paper in recent seasons, but such is the overall quality of the competition that nothing can be taken for granted.
There are eight possible groups for teams to be drawn into from four seeded pots, with the only guarantee being that teams from the same domestic league won’t be drawn together.
Once one team from each of the four pots has been drawn into a group, it’s complete, and teams can begin to dream the impossible dream.
Here’s a look at the seeded pots for the 2014/15 draw:
|Zenit St. Petersburg||Russia|
Arsenal qualified for the group stage by the skin of their teeth on Wednesday, disposing of Turkish side Besiktas 1-0 on aggregate in the play-off round.
The Gunners then moved straight into Pot 1 thanks to their consistent qualification for the last 16 over the years, where they join the Premier League’s other top seeds, Chelsea.
The best possible outcome for the Gunners and the Blues would be drawing FC Basel, Sporting Lisbon and Malmo—but fortune is never that generous.
Should the worst happen to either Arsenal or Chelsea, and they could be faced with a group including Borussia Dortmund, Athletic Bilbao and Monaco.
While everyone associated with the Premier League was thrilled to see the Gunners prevail against Besiktas, Liverpool fans found their allegiances with the Turkish side on Wednesday evening with the draw in mind.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have been placed in Pot 3 thanks to Arsenal’s qualification, and could face Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and either Monaco or Roma in a real group of death.
Madrid and Dortmund were paired together in 2012/13’s group stage, and the Reds will be praying that they find a way to avoid them both on their quest for European glory.
Drawing Porto from Pot 1 would be favourable for Rodgers and Co., while Basel and Malmo making up the rest of the group wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing, either.
Elsewhere, Manchester City come into the competition in Pot 2 once again, and will be looking to avoid the big boys this time around.
City have been out of luck in the Champions League in the last few seasons with their Pot 1 opponents, but they’ll be hoping it’s fourth-time lucky on their hunt for a generous draw.
Last season’s Champions League gave us drama, inspirational stories and a deserved champion, and it’s unlikely that this year’s tournament will break the mould.
No matter who your team is drawn against, being there for the journey is priceless.