The UEFA Champions League group stage draw will take place today, and Manchester United and Rivaldo Coetzee’s Celtic could end up together in a “group of death”.
Coetzee is likely to sign his contract with Scottish giants Celtic on Thursday, and his new side, as well as Dino Ndlovu’s FK Qarabag, were one of the 10 teams that qualified via the play-off route, which also saw Liverpool ensuring that five English teams are taking part in this year’s competition.
The group stage draw featuring all 32 qualified teams will take place, at 6.00pm South African time, in Monaco on Thursday evening.
The 32 teams have been placed in four pots, with the league champions of UEFA’s eight strongest top flights being placed in pot one, while the rest of the qualified sides were placed in the other three pots based on their UEFA coefficient.
Seeded: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow
Pot 2: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Man City, FC Porto, Man United
Pot 3: Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, FC Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas
Pot 4: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting CP, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, NK Maribor, FK Qarabag, RB Leipzig
No team can play a club from their own association at this stage of the competition, but there could be a potential “group of death” consisting of Real Madrid, United, Napoli and Coetzee’s Celtic or even Ndlovu’s Qarabag. The latter became the first side from Azerbaijan to have qualified for the competition, thanks to the South African’s important away goal in their qualifying clash against FC Copenhagen.
Soccer Laduma will bring you all the breaking news from the Champions League draw on our website and Twitter channels later today, with the 2017 UEFA Player of the Year also to be announced during the gala.