The UEFA Champions League group stage draws for the 2021/2022 season takes place this Thursday in Istanbul and Europe’s top clubs will finally get to know their opponents.
A total of 32 clubs are set to be split into 8 groups of 4 each when the draws take place in Turkey. Of the 32 clubs to partake in the draws, 26 of them are already confirmed with the last 6 spots to be settled on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
The first leg ties of the qualifying round for the group stage have already been played and the 12 clubs involved will play the second leg ties this week. Benfica, Monaco and PSV are among the popular teams playing for a place in the group stage, as seen in the image below.
According to the rules posted on the UEFA official site, the 8 teams in Pot 1 for the draws are the Europa League winners, UCL winners and the champions of UEFA’s top 6 Leagues. The clubs in Pots 2-4 are determined by UEFA’s coefficient rankings.
Going by these rules, the clubs in Pots 1 and 2 are already known as seen in the image below.
The clubs in Pots 3 and 4 will be determined by the winners of the qualifying matches.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are the EPL’s representatives in the UCL and are already aware of the Pots they belong to ahead of the draws. The clubs will be hoping for favourable outcomes when the draws take place on Thursday.
In the best case scenario, the lower ranked teams in each of the qualifying fixtures could win their matches. If this happens, it means that the probability of the EPL clubs getting “easier” draws increases.
If the lower ranked clubs were to win each of the 6 qualifying matches, here is how the seedings for the group stage draws will look like, based on the rules spelt out by UEFA.
Going by the above seedings, the best possible draws the EPL’s top clubs will be hoping for will include the lowest ranked team or the “weakest” team in each Pot, as seen in the image below.
On the other hand, any of the teams could get a very difficult group.
The worst case scenario would begin with the higher ranked teams winning each of the qualifying matches. If this happens, the seedings for the draws will be as seen in the image below.
Going by the above seedings, the worst case scenario kind of draw the EPL clubs will want to avoid is seen in the image below.
The number one club the EPL clubs will be hoping to avoid in the group stage is PSG, after the signing of Lionel Messi and other big stars by the club. AC Milan and Porto are two other clubs likely to be in Pot 3 and 4 respectively, which the top clubs will be hoping to avoid.
The draws on Thursday will decide whether or not the clubs get what they desire.