When is the UEFA Champions League group stage draw? Live stream, time, TV channel, pots, how to watch online

Written by on August 26, 2021

The UEFA Champions League 32-team group stage field is now set for the 2021-22 season. But before action can get underway in September, the 32 teams have to be placed into eight groups during Thursday’s draw in Turkey.  The draw will air live on CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports Network, and we’ll be providing analysis of the draw on CBSSports.com. Every UEFA Champions League match this season will be available on Paramount+.

Ahead of the draw, here’s everything you need to know:

How to watch

Who is involved?

Twenty-six teams already qualified for the group stage thanks to their success from a season ago. Six additional teams have booked their spots this week in the UCL play-offs. Here they are, including the Champions League winners Chelsea and Europa League winners Villarreal, with three spots up for grabs Wednesday.

  • England: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool
  • Spain: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla
  • Germany: Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg
  • Italy: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus and Atalanta
  • Portugal: Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Porto
  • France: PSG and Lille
  • Netherlands: Ajax
  • Turkey: Besiktas
  • Russia: Zenit
  • Ukraine: Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Belgium: Club Brugge
  • Switzerland: Young Boys
  • Sweden: Malmo
  • Austria: RB Salzburg
  • Moldova: Sheriff

What rules are there for the draw?

There will be four seeding pots, with the first one consisting of the six highest-ranked league champions and the winners of UCL and EL. Pots 2 to 4 will be determined via the club coefficient rankings. 

When forming the groups, no team can play another from its own association in the group stage, meaning two teams from England, for example, cannot be in the same group. There are often other restrictions, such as teams from Ukraine and Russia not being grouped together due to the longstanding political and military tensions stemming from the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. 

What are the pots?

Pot 1

  • Chelsea
  • Villarreal
  • Bayern Munich
  • Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Inter Milan
  • Sporting Lisbon
  • Lille

Pot 2

  • Real Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Juventus
  • Manchester United
  • PSG
  • Liverpool
  • Sevilla
  • Dortmund

Pot 3

  • FC Porto
  • Ajax
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • RB Leipzig
  • RB Salzburg
  • Benfica
  • Atalanta
  • Zenit

Pot 4

  • Besiktas
  • Dynamo Kiev
  • Club Brugge
  • Young Boys
  • AC Milan
  • Malmo
  • Wolfsburg
  • Sheriff

Have matchdays been decided for the group stage?

Yes, they are as follows:

  • Matchday 1: Sept. 14-15
  • Matchday 2: Sept. 28-29
  • Matchday 3: Oct. 19-20
  • Matchday 4: Nov. 2-3
  • Matchday 5: Nov. 23-24
  • Matchday 6: Dec. 7-8

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