The dream UEFA Champions League group stage draw: our ideal club matches and pools for 2022/23
The UEFA Champions League group stage never fails to deliver unforgettable matches and stunning finishes as clubs push to qualify for the knockout stages.
The 2022-23 season should be no different with the group stage set to take shape when the draw takes place on August 25.
A total of 32 clubs will be split into eight groups of four with only two teams from each capable of advancing to the knockout stages.
Prior to the draw, clubs are drawn into pots according to their UEFA Club Coefficient Ranking with the exception of Pot 1. Last season’s Champions League (Real Madrid) and Europa League (Eintracht Frankfurt) winners are automatically placed in Pot 1 alongside the champions of the top six leagues in the List of UEFA country coefficients.
Teams from the same nation cannot be drawn against each other in the group stage, meaning the competition still offers its fair share of one-off matches at this stage.
Ahead of the group stage draw, The Sporting News has rounded up its ideal group results that would deliver the most compelling matches and storylines for the next three months.
MORE: Champions League pots for group stage draw
- Saucepan 1: Real Madrid (Spain)
- Saucepan 2: Liverpool (England)
- Jar 3: Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
- Pan 4: Club Brugge (Belgium)
It’s impossible to resist not bringing the two 2021/22 Champions League finalists together in the group stage. Real Madrid and Liverpool have faced each other in two UCL finals in the past four years, with the Reds no doubt looking to avenge those back-to-back defeats. Joining them in this ‘Group of Death’ candidate would be Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge, ensuring every game is competitive.
- Saucepan 1: Manchester City (England)
- Saucepan 2: Barcelona, Spain)
- Jar 3: RB Salzburg (Austria)
- Pan 4: Celtic (Scotland)
Pairing Manchester City and Barcelona is more than timely and would see managers Pep Guardiola and Xavi go head-to-head in a competitive game for the first time. Xavi was a key part of Guardiola’s Barcelona squad over a decade ago and is now following in his former mentor’s footsteps at Camp Nou. Adding RB Salzburg and Celtic to this group would give every game real attacking intensity, with all four known for their abilities in front of goal.
- Saucepan 1: AC Milan (Italy)
- Saucepan 2: Chelsea (England)
- Jar 3: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
- Pan 4: Maccabi Haifa (Israel)
It’s been more than 20 years since AC Milan and Chelsea played a competitive game, so now seems the time to bring them together. Shakhtar Donetsk would then appear as a possible wild card and will no doubt be motivated to strongly represent Ukraine on the European stage given the situation in their home country. Maccabi Haifa are in the group stage for the first time since 2009.
- Saucepan 1: Bayern Munich (Germany)
- Saucepan 2: Juventus (Italy)
- Jar 3: Sporting CP (Portugal)
- Pan 4: FC Copenhagen (Denmark)
Placing the respective heavyweights of Germany and Italy together should deliver two thrilling matches. Bayern and Juventus last met in the Champions League in 2016 when their round of 16 was forced into extra time after both games ended 2-2. Sporting CP should not be underestimated, but this group will likely be dominated by the European giants.
- Saucepan 1: PSG (France)
- Saucepan 2: RB Leipzig (Germany)
- Jar 3: Inter Milan (Italy)
- Pan 4: Rangers (Scotland)
Every possible device for this group is capable of delivering fireworks. PSG v RB Leipzig would see two clubs with big money behind them go head-to-head, while Inter Milan are capable of beating both when firing up front. Add the Rangers and Group E becomes truly electric.
- Saucepan 1: Ajax (Netherlands)
- Saucepan 2: Tottenham (England)
- Jar 3: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
- Pan 4: Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)
Ajax and Tottenham produced a Champions League semi-final for the ages in 2019, so it’s time for a rematch. (Spurs reached the 2019 final at the expense of Ajax after Lucas Moura scored a 96th-minute winner.) Both clubs look sharp domestically and will no doubt deliver two first leg matches. essential groups. Bayer Leverkusen are an attacking team and Viktoria Plzen almost scored two goals per game in the Czech league last season.
- Saucepan 1: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
- Saucepan 2: Seville (Spain)
- Jar 3: Benfica (Portugal)
- Pan 4: Marseille, France)
This group would be the hardest to cripple. Benfica are battle-tested at this level, while Eintracht Frankfurt and Sevilla will be looking to show they can cope with the Champions League climb after showing they can win the Europa League in recent years. Marseille, meanwhile, have assembled a strong squad which includes new signing Alexis Sanchez.
MORE: Time, TV and live streams for the Champions League group stage draw
- Saucepan 1: Oporto (Portugal)
- Saucepan 2: Atletico Madrid (Spain)
- Jar 3: Napoli (Italy)
- Pan 4: Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
While this group may not necessarily achieve many goals, you can expect more than a few significant challenges and heated business. Atletico Madrid would consider themselves favorites in this group, but Napoli, Porto and Dinamo Zagreb won’t give up points easily.
Champions League pots and seeds
Here’s how the pots are split ahead of the draw on Thursday, August 25.
Each club UEFA Club Coefficient Ranking is included for pots 2-4 below since club ranking in these pots is based on coefficient ranking.
|Saucepan 1||Saucepan 2||Saucepan 3||Saucepan 4|
|5-Chelsea||21-RB Salzburg||34-Dinamo Zagreb|
|6-Barcelona||22-Shakhtar Donetsk||38-Olympique de Marseille|
|8-Juventus||23-Inter Milano||41-FC Copenhagen|
|9-Atletico Madrid||25-Napoli||44-Club Brugge|
|13-RB Leipzig||28-CP sports||55-Viktoria Plzen|
|14-Tottenham||30-Bayer Leverkusen||169-Maccabi Haifa|
Clubs from the same country cannot be drawn into the same group and will be moved to the next available open group slot.
The list below includes clubs from the same country in the 2022/23 group stage draw:
|5||Germany||Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen,
RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt
|4||England||Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham|
|4||Italy||AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, Juventus|
|4||Spain||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla|
|3||Portugal||Benfica, Porto, Sporting CP|
|2||France||PSG, Olympique de Marseille|
|1||Czech Republic||Viktoria Pilsen|
Champions League Group Draw TV Channel and Live Stream
The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw will take place on Thursday 25 August at 6:00 p.m. local time in Istanbul, Turkey, and will be televised or broadcast worldwide.
|Australia||Fri August 26||02:00 AEST||—||Stan Sports|
|Canada||Thursday August 25||12:00 p.m. ET||—||DAZN|
|hong kong||Fri August 26||00:00 HKT||—||UEFA.tv, UEFA YouTube|
|India||Thursday August 25||9:30 p.m. IST||—||UEFA.tv, UEFA YouTube|
|Malaysia||Fri August 26||00:00 MYT||—||UEFA.tv, UEFA YouTube|
|New Zealand||Fri August 26||04:00 NZST||—||UEFA.tv, UEFA YouTube|
|Singapore||Fri August 26||00:00 SST||—||UEFA.tv, UEFA YouTube|
|UK||Thursday August 25||5:00 p.m. BST||BTSport 1||BT Sport website/app|
|UNITED STATES||Thursday August 25||12:00 p.m. ET||TUDN||fuboTVVix+, Paramount+,
CBS Sports Headquarters