Group of Death’? ‘Easy’ group? Who will the Blues get? Let’s take a look…

With the domestic football season now back across Europe, all attention now turns to the return of the biggest club competition in European football…

The UEFA Champions League.

Which after a season away, will also include the return of Chelsea, after the Blues won the UEFA Europa League last season, beating Arsenal 4-1 in the Final in Baku, Azerbaijan.

32 of the best teams across the continent will take part in this season’s tournament, with the Final at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday 30th May.

Since June, teams have been fighting on the path to reach the Champions League group stage, starting in the preliminary round before going through three qualifying stages to reach the play-offs, which ended last night.

Liverpool are the current UEFA Champions League holders after beating Tottenham Hotspur in last season’s Final (Photo – UEFA)

As we look to the draw taking place later today (at 5pm BST) from the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, who can Chelsea face? Let’s take a look.

HOW WILL THE DRAW WORK?

32 teams across across sixteen nations will be represented in the group stage with Spain, England, Italy and Germany all boasting four teams.

The draw will see all 32 teams split into four pots of eight to compile the groups.

WHO ARE THE TOP SEEDS FOR NEXT SEASON?

The eight teams that are named as top seeds for the group stages of the Champions League are reserved for the holders of the two European competitions (Champions League/Europa League) and the champions of the six strongest domestic leagues.

The six strongest domestic leagues in European football right now (based on 2018 UEFA country coefficients) are:

• La Liga (Spain)
• Premier League (England)
• Bundesliga (Germany)
• Serie A (Italy)
• Ligue 1 (France)
• Russian Premier League (Russia)

Along with the current Champions League and Europa League holders, the following eight teams to be in pot one (by association rank) are:

• Liverpool (UEFA Champions League holders)
Chelsea (UEFA Europa League holders)
• Barcelona (La Liga champions)
• Manchester City (Premier League champions)
• Juventus (Serie A champions)
• Bayern Munich (Bundesliga champions)
• Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 champions)
• Zenit St. Petersburg (Russian Premier League champions)

WHO WILL BE IN POTS 2, 3 & 4?

After the play-off round was completed last night, based on current UEFA rankings, here’s where the remaining 24 teams will be placed in today’s draw:

POT TWO
• Real Madrid
• Atlético Madrid
• Borussia Dortmund
• Napoli
• Shakhtar Donetsk
• Tottenham Hotspur
• Ajax
• Benfica

POT THREE
• Olympique Lyonnais
• Bayer Leverkusen
• Red Bull Salzburg
• Olympiacos
• Club Brugge
• Valencia
• Inter Milan
Dinamo Zagreb

POT FOUR
• Lokomotiv Moscow
• KRC Genk
• Galatasaray
• Red Bull Leipzig
• Slavia Prague
• Red Star Belgrade
• Atalanta
• Lille

WHAT WOULD BE THE ‘GROUP OF DEATH’?

Here’s what could be seen as the ‘group of death’ for Chelsea, which would make the odds of the Blues qualifying for the knockout stages in Spring 2020 much harder:

• Chelsea
• Real Madrid
• Inter Milan
• Red Bull Leipzig

WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST GROUP DRAW?

Here’s what could be seen as the ‘easiest’ possible group for Chelsea, which would give them a better chance at qualifying for the knockout stages in Spring 2020:

• Chelsea
• Shakhtar Donetsk
• Club Brugge
• Slavia Prague

WHEN WILL THE GROUP STAGE MATCHES BE PLAYED?

The group stage matches for this season’s UEFA Champions League will begin in September and take place over the six selected match days:

• 17th–18th September
• 1st–2nd October
• 22nd–23rd October
• 5th–6th November
• 26th–27th November
• 10th–11th December

CAN CHELSEA WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEXT SEASON?

At the time of writing, Chelsea are currently seen by bookmakers as 33/1 outsiders to win the tournament for a second time, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City being seen as the current favourites of bringing a first European Cup to the blue half of Manchester at 7/2.

Chelsea celebrating winning the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League after beating Bayern Munich in the final (Photo – Chelsea FC)

2019-20 Champions League winners (Odds – selected teams)
• Manchester City – 7/2
• Barcelona – 5/1
• Liverpool – 7/1
• Juventus – 8/1
• Real Madrid – 8/1
• Paris Saint-Germain – 9/1
• Bayern Munich – 12/1
• Atlético Madrid – 20/1
• Tottenham Hotspur – 20/1
• Borussia Dortmund – 20/1
Chelsea – 33/1
• Inter Milan – 40/1

Good luck to the Blues this season being back in Europe’s elite competition.

Terry Sazio

What are your thoughts on the upcoming draw? Let us know via our official Twitter and via Terry’s personal Twitter as well.

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