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Champions League Group Stage Draw: Everything you need to know

The draw for the 2018-19 Champions League group stage will take place in Monaco on Thursday evening.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the draw, as Roma resume their participation in the competition after reaching the semi-finals last term…

When does it take place?

The draw for this season’s group stage takes place at 18:00 CEST on Thursday (17:00 BST / 12:00 EST).

This is a slight change from previous seasons, where the draws for both the Champions League and the Europa League both took place at the same time.

This time, the Europa League draw follows 24 hours later (once all qualification matches are completed).

Where does the draw take place?

The draw will take place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

How can I watch it?

The draw will be streamed live on UEFA.com (we will provide a link from the homepage).

How does the draw work?

The 32 participating teams (26 automatic qualifiers, and six who came through the play-offs) have been divided into four points, each consisting of eight teams.

The eight groups are thus made up of one team from each of the pots.

How are the pots decided?

Pot 1 contains the current Champions League holders (Real Madrid), the current Europa League winners (Atletico Madrid), and the league champions of the six highest-rated leagues in Europe, based on UEFA’s co-efficient (Spain, England, Italy, Germany, France, Russia).

Pot 2, 3 and 4 are then arranged based on UEFA club co-efficient, which measures the performances of sides in European competitions over the last five years. So the best-performing sides go into Pot 2, while the ‘worst’ performing sides are in Pot 4.

Which pot are Roma in?

Roma are in Pot 2 for the draw, after rising to 21st in the UEFA rankings following last season’s semi-final run.

Who else is in Pot 2?

For clarity’s sake, here is how all four Pots look heading into the draw:
 

POT 1POT 2POT 3POT 4
Real Madrid (ESP)Borussia Dortmund (GER)Liverpool (ENG)Viktoria Plzen (CZE)
Atletico Madrid (ESP)Porto (POR)Schalke 04 (GER)Club Brugge (BEL)
Barcelona (ESP)Manchester United (ENG)Olympique Lyon (FRA)Galatasaray (TUR)
Manchester City (ENG)Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)AS Monaco (FRA)Young Boys (SWI)
Juventus (ITA)Benfica (POR)Ajax (NED)Inter Milan (ITA)
Bayern Munich (GER)Napoli (ITA)CSKA Moscow (RUS)Hoffenheim (GER)
PSG (FRA)Tottenham (ENG)PSV Eindhoven (NED)AEK Athens (GRE)
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS)AS ROMA (ITA)Valencia (ESP)Red Star Belgrade (SER)

Are there are any other rules to be aware of?

Yes. As usual, UEFA forbid two clubs from the same nation from being drawn in the same group for the first phase of the competition. This means that Roma definitely cannot be drawn against the other Italian sides in the competition: Juventus, Napoli and Inter Milan.

This has a further effect that should be noted: for example, if Roma are drawn with a Spanish side from Pot 1 (a 3/8 chance), then they cannot possibly face one of the other Spanish sides in Pot 3 or 4.

What are the match dates for this season?

As usual, specific fixture dates will be organised – in negotiation with UEFA and the clubs involved – once the draw itself is confirmed. But we already know when the six matchdays will be:

Champions League group stage calendar

MD1 | 18-19 September
MD2 | 2-3 October
MD3 | 23-24 October
MD4 | 6-7 November
MD 5 | 27-28 November
MD6 | 11-12 December

 
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