The ever-reverberating UEFA Champions League will take center stage from September 19, 2023, to June 1, 2024, and teams are already crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s ahead of the commencement of the 2023/24 edition.
Representatives from the top 5 leagues in Europe are;
England: Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle United.
Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad.
Italy: Napoli, Lazio, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.
Germany: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, and Union Berlin.
France: Paris Saint Germain and RC Lens.
The draw to determine which group all these teams and more will be placed in is scheduled to go down on August 31, 2023, from 5:00 PM BST.
The 2023/24 edition of the UEFA Champions League will be the last edition of the competition with 32 teams as participants.
36 teams are expected to play in the 2024/25 edition of the tournament, and it will also take a new format.
Five teams are currently competing to join the 28 teams that have earned their spot in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
When will the draws be conducted?
The playoffs will be finalized by the 30th of August, 2023, which is obviously a day before the draw.
Pot 1 houses league winners of the top 6 leagues in Europe, alongside Europa League and Conference League winners. They include: Manchester City, Napoli, Barcelona, Bayern, Paris Saint Germain, Benfica, Sevilla, and Feyenoord.
In Pot 2, it also includes several big guns on the European continent, namely: Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, and Porto.
Pot 3: Lazio, Milan, Shakhtar, RB Salzburg, Red Star, Real Sociedad, Celtic, Rangers OR PSV Eindhoven.
While Pot 4, includes several tournament “minnows” and underdogs, namely; Newcastle United, RC Lens, Union Berlin, Antwerp/AEK Athens, Rakow/Copenhagen, Braga/Panathinaikos, Maccabi Haifa/Young Boys, and Molde/Galatasaray.
Only three teams are confirmed in Pot 4, while the rest would know their fate in the tournament via their performances in the qualification rounds.
There is also the possibility of Real Sociedad and Celtic being ceded in Pot 4 of the draws for the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
Which club are the defending champions of the 2023/24 edition of the UEFA Champions League?
Manchester City are the defending champions of the competition and despite winning the Premier League title, they had an automatic entry into the tournament due to their exploits in the Champions League last term.
Sevilla are also another team that earned an automatic entry into the competition, after winning the UEFA Europa League.
Spain have six teams participating in the competition, the highest number of participants from a particular league for the 2023/24 season.
Since the UEFA Champions League renaming from the European Cup in 1992, only one team has won the tournament twice in a row.
Real Madrid are the only team to have won the competition back-to-back, and they also extended that streak to a third season.
Los Blancos won the tournament in the 2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18 seasons, to become the first team to do so in the current era.
2023/24 UEFA Champions League, Important date to take note of.
Group Stage Matches:
Round of 16
Draw: December 14
First legs: February 13-14 and 20-21
Second legs: March 5-6 and March 12-13
Draw: March 15
First legs: April 9-10
Second legs: April 16-17
Draw: March 15
First legs: April 30, May 1
Second legs: May 7-8
June 1 at Wembley Stadium, London