The dream UEFA Champions League group stage draw: Our ideal club matchups and pools for 2022/23

The group stages of the UEFA Champions League consistently deliver memorable matches and thrilling finals as clubs push for a place in the knockout stages.

The 2022/23 season shouldn’t be any different as the group stage is set to take shape at the draw on August 25.

A total of 32 clubs are divided into eight groups of four, from which only two teams can advance to the knockout stages.

Before the draw, clubs are drawn into the pots based on their UEFA club coefficient rankings, 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 set 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 always throws up its fair share of unique encounters at this point.

Ahead of the group stage draw, The Sporting News compiled their ideal group results that would provide the most compelling matchups and storylines for the next three months.

MORE: Champions League pots for group stage draw

Group A

  • Pot 1: Real Madrid (Spain)
  • Pot 2: Liverpool (England)
  • Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
  • Pot 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 met in two UCL finals in the last four years, with the Reds no doubt desperate to avenge those consecutive defeats. Among them in this ‘group of death’ contenders are Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge to ensure every game is competitive.

Group B

  • Pot 1: Manchester City (England)
  • Pot 2: Barcelona, ​​Spain)
  • Pot 3: RB Salzburg (Austria)
  • Pot 4: Celtic (Scotland)

Manchester City and Barcelona’s pairing is more than timely and would see managers Pep Guardiola and Xavi face off in a competitive game for the first time. Xavi was a key part of Guardiola’s Barcelona team over a decade ago and is now following in his former mentor’s footsteps at the Camp Nou. The addition of RB Salzburg and Celtic in this group would add real attacking intensity to any game, with all four known for their skills in front of goal.

Pep Guardiola at the Manchester City training ground

Group C

  • Pot 1: AC Milan (Italy)
  • Pot 2: Chelsea (England)
  • Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
  • Pot 4: Maccabi Haifa (Israel)

It’s been over 20 years since AC Milan and Chelsea have played a competitive match, so it feels like it’s about time they were brought together. Shakhtar Donetsk would then emerge as a possible wild card and, given the situation in their home country, would no doubt be keen to represent Ukraine strongly on the European stage. Maccabi Haifa are back in the group stage for the first time since 2009.

Group D

  • Pot 1: Bayern Munich (Germany)
  • Pot 2: Juventus (Italy)
  • Pot 3: Sporting CP (Portugal)
  • Pot 4: FC Copenhagen (Denmark)

If you put the respective heavyweights Germany and Italy together, there should be two gripping games. Bayern and Juventus last faced each other in the Champions League in 2016 when their round of 16 tie was forced into extra time after both games ended 2-2. Sporting CP should not be underestimated but this group is likely to be dominated by the European giants.

Group E

  • Pot 1: PSG (France)
  • Pot 2: RB Leipzig (Germany)
  • Pot 3: Inter Milan (Italy)
  • Pot 4: Rangers (Scotland)

Any device for this group is able to deliver fireworks. PSG vs RB Leipzig would see two clubs with a lot of money behind them, while Inter Milan are capable of beating both if they fire up front. Throw in Rangers and Group E gets really electric.

Group F

  • Pot 1: Ajax (Netherlands)
  • Pot 2: Tottenham (England)
  • Pot 3: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
  • Pot 4: Viktoria Pilsen (Czech Republic)

Ajax and Tottenham delivered an eternal Champions League semi-final draw in 2019, so it’s time for a rematch. (Spurs advanced to the 2019 final at the expense of Ajax after Lucas Moura scored a 96th-minute winner.) Both clubs are looking good domestically and will no doubt deliver two unmissable group stage games. Bayer Leverkusen are an attacking side and Viktoria Pilsen scored almost two goals a game in the Czech league last season.

Group G

  • Pot 1: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Pot 2: Seville (Spain)
  • Pot 3: Benfica (Portugal)
  • Pot 4: Marseilles (France)

This group would be the hardest to impede. Benfica are battle-hardened at this level, while both Eintracht Frankfurt and Sevilla want to show they can master promotion to the Champions League after showing they can win the Europa League in recent years. Marseille, meanwhile, have assembled a strong squad that includes new signing Alexis Sanchez.

MORE: Time, TV and live streams for Champions League group stage draw

Group H

  • Pot 1: Porto (Portugal)
  • Pot 2: Atlético Madrid (Spain)
  • Pot 3: Naples (Italy)
  • Pot 4: Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)

While this group doesn’t necessarily need to complete many goals, you can expect more than a few powerful challenges and fiery affairs. Atletico Madrid would call themselves favorites in this group, but Napoli, Porto and Dinamo Zagreb will not drop points easily.

Champions League pots and seedlings

This is how the pots collapse ahead of the drawing on Thursday, August 25th.

Each club’s UEFA club coefficient rankings are included below for pots 2-4, as the seeding of clubs in these pots is based on the coefficient rankings.

pot 1 pot 2 pot 3 pot 4
real Madrid
(Champions League)
2 Liverpool 19-Borussia Dortmund 33 rangers
Eintracht Frankfurt
(European League)
5-Chelsea 21-RB Salzburg 34-Dinamo Zagreb
Manchester City
(1st, England)
6-Barcelona 22-Shahtar Donetsk 38-Olympique Marseille
AC Milan
(1st, Italy)
8-Juventus 23-Inter Milan 41-FC Copenhagen
Bayern Munich
(1st, Germany)
9-Atlético Madrid 25-Napoli 44 Club Brugge
(1st, France)
12-Seville 27 Benfica 51-celtic
(1st, Portugal)
13-RB Leipzig 28 Sporty CP 55-Victoria Pilsen
(1st, Netherlands)
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 free group place.

The following list contains the clubs from the same country in the 2022/23 group stage draw:

number of
nation societies
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, Seville
3 Portugal Benfica, Porto, Sporting CP
2 France PSG, Olympique Marseille
2 Scotland Celtic, Rangers
1 Austria RB Salzburg
1 Belgium Club Brugge
1 Croatia Dynamo Zagreb
1 Czech Republic Victoria Pilsen
1 Denmark FC Copenhagen
1 Israel Maccabi Haifa
1 Netherlands ajax
1 Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk

TV channel and live stream of the Champions League group draw

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw takes place on Thursday 25 August at 18:00 local time in Istanbul, Turkey and will be televised or streamed worldwide.

country date time TV channel stream
Australia Friday 26 August 02:00 CEST Stan sports
Canada Thursday 25 August 12:00 p.m. ET DAZN
Hong Kong Friday 26 August 00:00 CEST, UEFA YouTube
India Thursday 25 August 21:30 CET, UEFA YouTube
Malaysia Friday 26 August 00:00 CET, UEFA YouTube
New Zealand Friday 26 August 04:00 NZST, UEFA YouTube
Singapore Friday 26 August 00:00 SST, UEFA YouTube
United Kingdom Thursday 25 August 17:00 CET BT sport 1 BT Sport site/app
United States of America Thursday 25 August 12:00 p.m. ET TUDN fuboTV, Vix+, Paramount+,
CBS sports headquarters

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