Champions League Pots Finalized For Group Stage Draw


(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The pots for the UEFA Champions League group draw have been finalized following the results from Wednesday’s playoff matches.

The group stage draw takes place Thursday at 17:45 CET (11:45 EST).

Here are the pots:

Pot 1

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, Atlético Madrid, Arsenal, Porto

Pot 2

Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk, Basel, Zenit, Manchester City

Pot 3

Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiakos, CKSA Moscow, Ajax, Liverpool, Sporting Club, Galatasaray, Athletic Club

Pot 4

Anderlecht, AS Roma, APOEL, BATE Borisov, Ludogorets, NK Maribor, AS Monaco, Malmö FF

As a reminder, no teams from the same association can be drawn together in the same group, which means teams from England cannot draw another team from in England into their group and obviously it goes the same for associations that have multiple teams in the group stage.

Champions League always has the opportunity to provide surprises and drama so it would be unwise to underestimate any team that Chelsea may be drawn against.

Chelsea gets to avoid all of the big guns being a Pot 1 team, but Pot 2 can provide some difficult opposition.

Teams like Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and PSG can give even a strong Chelsea squad a run for their money. Chelsea has yet to play Dortmund or Zenit in the Champions League but have faced every other team in the pot excluding Manchester City. Teams from this pot will give Chelsea the most trouble.

Pot 3 provides some more interesting competition for Chelsea. Leverkusen disposed of Denmark outfit FC Copenhagen easily in their qualification playoff, but the German squad always seems to disappoint in the group stages.

Olympiakos, CSKA and Galatasaray would all be lengthy and difficult away trips but you would have to think Chelsea would be able to care of business against these teams at home. You would also have to believe that Chelsea would be able to handle the younger squads of Ajax and Sporting Club.

Athletic Club impressed in their victory over a strong Napoli squad and they are arguably the best team in Pot 3.

While there are a couple of teams in Pot 4 that are participating in the Champions League group stage for the first time, there are also several clubs who could easily progress to the knockout stage. All of these teams would give Chelsea a difficult away trip.

AS Roma finished second last year in Serie A and are a very strong defensive squad and will not concede many goals.

Monaco return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2004/05 season and have returned with the help of big money signings, most notably striker Radamel Falcao. They’ve sold budding star James Rodríguez to Real Madrid and are off to a stuttering start in Ligue 1.

Ludogorets, Malmö, BATE Borisov, Anderlecht and NK Maribor shouldn’t trouble much but APOEL have made it to the quarter finals before but lightning will probably not strike twice for the Cypriot club.

I think the ideal draw for Chelsea would have to look something like this:


Schalke 04

Sporting Club


It’s going to be very hard for Chelsea to avoid the bigger names out of Pot 2 but a trip to Gelsenkirchen is something Chelsea has done before and it avoids dangerous away tips to Dortmund, Ukraine and Russia. PSG and Juventus would obviously be tough tests as well and Basel could surprise us again should we draw them. I think Schalke is the safe bet here.

I honestly don’t know much about Sporting Club but I would prefer avoiding long away trips and pesky Ajax and Athletic Club sides.

Anderlecht hasn’t won a Champions League group stage game in forever so I would be happy to match up with them. Catching Monaco or Roma could make qualification to the knockout stages difficult should we drop points again. Teams like Maribor, Malmö and Ludogorets would surely be dangerous teams considering they are hungry to perform well in their first ever Champions League group stage.

I’m not going to hope that Chelsea get the easiest group because as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for.” This team and this manager and these fans live for the big games so let’s hope that our club get a fairly reasonable test in the group stages.

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