Chelsea will find out their Champions League fate tomorrow night, with the draw for the group stages taking place tomorrow at 16:45 GMT in Monaco ( 17.45 local time).
This year does however see changes to the seeding system. For the first time, the champions of the top seven divisions in Europe are all put in Pot 1. The winners of last season’s competition are also entered into the pot.
The top seven divisions (the champions of those leagues are in brackets):
– England: Premier League (Chelsea)
– France: Ligue 1 (Paris Saint-Germain)
– Italy – Serie A (Juventus)
– Germany – Bundesliga (Bayern Munich)
– Spain – Liga BBVA (Barcelona)
– Russia – Football Premier League (Zenit St. Petersburg)
– Portugal – Primeira Liga (Benfica)
But, due to Barcelona winning the Champions League last season, the team from the eighth division in Europe is also entered into the pot. That team is PSV Eindhoven, who won the Dutch Eredivisie last season.
The teams are drawn from four pots, the teams from which make up eight groups. There are three other English teams in the draw – however, Chelsea are unable to meet them in the group stages.
The pots (the nationalities of the teams are in brackets):
Pot One: Barcelona (Spain), Bayern Munich (Germany), Chelsea (England), Juventus (Italy), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Benfica (Portugal), Zenit St Petersburg (Russia), PSV Eindhoven (Holland).
Pot Two: Real Madrid (Spain), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Arsenal (England), Manchester City (England), Valencia (Spain), Manchester United (England), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany).
Pot Three: Olympiakos (Greece), Galatasaray (Turkey), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Lyon (France), Roma (Italy), Shakhtar Donestk (Ukraine), Sevilla (Spain), CSKA Moscow (Russia).
Pot Four: Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany), Wolfsburg (Germany), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), Gent (Belgium), Malmo (Sweden), BATE (Belarus), Astana (Kazakhstan).
Chelsea could still face trips to Real or Atletico Madrid, as well as several other top European sides. The Blues, who last won the competition in 2012, will however look to improve on last season’s Champions League performance, when they were knocked out in the second round by PSG.
The knock-out rounds begin on February 16th, with the final to take place at Inter and AC Milan’s San Siro s Stadium on May 28th 2016. The ground last hosted the Champions League final in 2001, when Bayern Munich beat Valencia. Curiously neither Inter or Milan will take part to this Champions League edition due to their poor season last year.