UCL draw balls.

The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony takes place on Thursday evening, 26 August in Istanbul, Turkey. Special guests Branislav Ivanović and Michael Essien will assist with the draw.

Twenty-six teams qualified automatically for the group stage, while the final six berths were decided via the play-offs.

The teams will be split into four seeding pots. Pot 1 will consist of the holders, the UEFA Europa League winners and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations who did not qualify via one of the 2020/21 continental titles; Pots 2 to 4 will be determined by the club coefficient rankings.

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No team can play a side from their own association. Any other restrictions will be announced ahead of the draw ceremony.

Pot 1: Chelsea, Villarreal, Bayern, Manchester City, Atlético de Madrid, Inter Milan, Sporting CP, LOSC Lille

Pot 2: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund

Pot 3: Porto, Ajax, Shakhtar Donetsk, Leipzig, Salzburg, Benfica, Atalanta, Zenit

Pot 4: Beşiktaş, Dynamo Kyiv, Club Brugge , Young Boys, AC Milan, Malmö, Wolfsburg, Sheriff Tiraspol

The dates are as follows:

Matchday 1: 14/15 September

Matchday 2: 28/29 September

Matchday 3: 19/20 October

Matchday 4: 2/3 November

Matchday 5: 23/24 November

Matchday 6: 7/8 December

The 2020/21 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award winner will also be announced during the course of the draw ceremony.

One of Kevin De Bruyne, Jorginho or N’Golo Kanté will be named the winner – the first all-midfield shortlist in the prize’s 11-year history.