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Champions League Group Stage Draw

Michel Platini, the President of UEFA
Michel Platini, the President of UEFA

In two hours, the 32 clubs that have qualified for the Group Stage of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League will learn their assignment. The clubs will be placed into one of 8 groups, each with 4 teams. Within each group, the teams will play every other team in the group twice (meaning each team will play a total of 6 Group Stage matches, spread out over about 3 months). For purposes of the draw, the clubs are first organized into 4 "pots" based on their strength, as measured by their UEFA co-efficients:

So, every group will be made up of one team from each pot. Bayern, with our high co-efficient, can't be drawn into a group with anyone else from Pot 1. We also can't be drawn against Schalke of Dortmund, as clubs from the same national association can't be placed together. Other than that, anyone is fair game. Last year, we ended up with Manchester City, Villarreal, and Napoli - the toughest group of the tournament.

This year, City, Juventus, and PSG are probably the groups from the lower pots that would be the toughest. PSG this year is almost like City last year - very talented "new money" team that hasn't put it all together yet, but that could be dangerous if they figure things out by October. Keep in mind also that two teams will advance from each group. So the presence of 2 awesome teams in one group (say, Bayern and Man City, or Real Madrid and Man City) doesn't necessarily make it a "Group of Death" - if they're paired with two crappy teams, they can easily advance. The question is, will any group have multiple good, dangerous teams from the lower pots. In other words, will Man City and Juve, or Dortmund and PSG, get assigned to the same group? If so, the Pot 1 team from that group has to be on their toes.

Anyway, we can explain what happens in the comment section. Just wanted to give everyone a place to check in and watch.

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