The 2021/22 Champions League campaign is underway, as clubs from all over Europe bid to succeed Chelsea at the top of the continental mountain.
Thomas Tuchel’s side were the surprise winners of the 2020/21 competition, narrowly overcoming Manchester City in the final after superb run through the knockout stages saw them dispose of Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid.
This season’s edition will see many of the usual suspects again bid to become top dogs, and marks the first time the competition has been played in it’s entirety since 12 renegade clubs attempted to break away from Europe’s traditional pyramid to form an exclusive, and exceedingly lucrative, Super League.
Those plans ultimately fell by the wayside, leaving UEFA’s Champions League still firmly assured of its place as the most prestigious club competition in Europe.
Here, you can find out everything you need to know about the 2021/22 edition, including what pot every team will be in, when the complete draw will be made, and every match date for the group stages.
The preliminary round for this season’s Champions League took place on 22 June and 25 June, with the two-legged affairs having been drawn two weeks previously.
The first three qualifying rounds were in the bag by 10 August, with the final step before the competition proper gets underway a series of two-legged play-offs – held on 17/18 August and 24/25 August.
The draw for the 2021/22 Champions League proper takes place a day after the play-offs have concluded, Thursday 26 August.
The 32 teams in the pot will then be split into eight groups of four, with the top two after six games moving forward to the round of 16. The draw for the knockout rounds takes place on 13 December.
As already mentioned, the full Champions League draw is made up of 32 teams. 26 have already been determined, with the remaining six teams to be made up of sides who come through the arduous qualification and play-offs process.
Here are the pot seedings that we know at this stage, which may raise an eyebrow or two at a glance…
Pot 1: Chelsea, Villarreal, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter, Lille OSC, Sporting CP
Pot 2: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, PSG, Liverpool, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund
Pot 3: FC Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Zenit St. Petersburg, TBD*, TBD*, TBD*
Pot 4: AC Milan, VfL Wolfsburg, Club Brugge, TBD*, TBD*, TBD*, TBD*, TBD*
*Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev have qualified for the Champions League, but it is not yet known whether they will be in pot three or pot four.
As is traditional, the group stages of the Champions League get underway in mid-September, concluding in the first week of December.
This season’s Champions League final will be held at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 28 May, 2022.
Originally, the final was to be held there in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced UEFA to change their plans and move the event to Lisbon. It was then decided that the 2022 final would switch to Russia, with Bayern Munich‘s Allianz Arena now hosting the 2023 showpiece.