When is the Champions League group stage draw: date, time, seeds and favourites for tournament

A total of 32 teams will compete for glory in the Champions League group stage
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The football season is fast approaching and a number of European powerhouses are eagerly waiting for this year’s UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

The Champions League is the most prestigious club competition on the planet and Manchester City are aiming to become the first English club to defend their European crown since Nottingham Forest in 1980.

Pep Guardiola’s side will be joined in the Champions League by city-neighbours Manchester United who returned to Europe’s elite competition under the guidance of Erik Ten Hag.

The likes of Arsenal and Newcastle United are also gearing up for a European campaign after a lengthy absence from the competition.

This year’s tournament is the last to feature a group stage in the traditional sense as UEFA plans to revamp the competition. But when is the 2023/24 Champions League group stage and what are the key dates for fans to watch out for?

Here is everything you need to know.

When is the UEFA Champions League group stage draw?

Manchester City lifted the Champions League last season. (Getty Images)Manchester City lifted the Champions League last season. (Getty Images)
Manchester City lifted the Champions League last season. (Getty Images)

The Champions League group stage draw is scheduled to take place on Thursday 31 August. 

The draw takes place at 5pm UK time at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

The draw features 32 teams which are split into eight groups of four. The top two teams from each group will then advance to the knockout stage of the competition with the third placed team earning a spot in the Europa League.

How to watch the UEFA Champions League group stage draw

The Champions League group stage draw will be shown live on UEFA.com which is free to access. 

The 2022/23 UEFA Men's Player of the Year, UEFA Women's Player of the Year, UEFA Men's Coach of the Year and UEFA Women's Coach of the Year awards will also be presented during the group stage draw ceremony.

Who has qualified for the 2023/24 Champions League group stage?

A total of 26 teams have secured their place in this season’s Champions League. Many of these teams qualified as a result of their league performances, but Sevilla earned their place in the tournament as a reward for winning the 2023 Europa League final.

The remaining six teams will be decided through the Champions League play-off fixtures which run from 27 June until 30 August.

Here is a full list of the team’s which have qualified for the Champions League so far:

England (4): Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle

France(2): Lens, PSG

Austria (1): Red Bull Salzburg

Germany (4): Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Union Berlin

Netherlands (1): Feyenoord

Portugal (2): Benfica, Porto

Scotland (1): Celtic

Serbia (1): Red Star Belgrade

Spain (5): Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Sevilla

Ukraine (1): Shakhtar Donetsk

When does the Champions League group stage start?

The Champions League group stage begins on Tuesday 19 September.

Each team plays six games in their group with three home matches and three away matches.The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage after the final round of fixtures on 12-13 December.

Who are the favourites to win the Champions League?

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the bookmakers favourites to defend their Champions League crown at the 2024 final at Wembley Stadium. 

The Citizens lifted a treble last season - FA Cup, League and Champions League - and have a squad filled with quality players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Premier League golden boot winner Erling Haaland.

Bayern Munich are the second favourites to win the competition and they are managed by ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel who has previously won the tournament in 2021.

Real Madrid are the third favourites for the title as Carlo Ancelotti looks to add to his record breaking four Champions League trophies during his final season at the Bernabeu.

PSG, Barcelona and Arsenal are also seen as potential contenders for Europe’s elite prize according to the bookmakers.

Here are the early Sky Bet favourites to win the 2023/24 Champions League:

  • Manchester City - 2/1
  • Bayern Munich - 7/1
  • Real Madrid - 17/2
  • PSG - 11/1
  • Barcelona - 12/1
  • Arsenal - 14/1
  • Manchester United - 16/1
  • Napoli - 20/1
  • Newcastle - 20/1
  • Atletico Madrid - 25/1

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