Pots will be finalised this week but Chelsea are a top seed after winning the Premier League last season
CHELSEA will find out their Champions League fate at the end of this week – and could be facing one of Europe’s biggest clubs in the group stage.
The group stage draw will take place on Thursday, August 24 at 5pm and although the Blues are a top seed they could still face a very tough set of fixtures.
The full draw will be finalised after matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Liverpool and Celtic among the teams who will learn their fate.
After winning the Premier League season in Antonio Conte’s debut season, Chelsea are in the top seeding pot.
Watch the Champions League Show live from 4pm on TalkSPORT ahead of the draw
But that by no means guarantees an easy ride.
Here’s everything you need to know about Chelsea’s Champions League group.
WHO CHELSEA CAN’T FACE
Chelsea are in seeding pot 1 as champions and will not face any other league winners from the top seven nations (based on Uefa country coefficients).
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That means Spanish champions Real Madrid, German giants Bayern Munich and perennial Italian champions Juventus will not face Chelsea until the knockout stages at the earliest.
So too Portuguese champions Benfica, Ligue 1 winners Monaco and Spartak Moscow (Russia) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) are out.
In the group stage teams can’t face opponents from the same domestic leagues so Chelsea will not face any of Manchester City, Manchester United (both pot 2), Tottenham (pot 2 or 3, depending on results) or Liverpool if they qualify.
WHO CAN CHELSEA FACE?
The Champions League is never easy and Chelsea could still face an uphill task.
The Blues, and all other teams from pot 1, face one side from pots 2, 3 and 4.
Pot 2 is where the most danger lies.
The Blues could face regular La Liga giants Barcelona or Atletico Madrid, as well as Neymar’s new side Paris Saint-Germain.
Also in Pot 2 are Borussia Dortmund and Porto.
If Napoli beat Nice, they won the first leg 2-0, they will also be in Pot 2.
In Pot 3 there are only four confirmed teams so far – Swiss champions Basel, Belgian champions Anderlecht, Turkish champs Besiktas and Italian giants Roma.
Feyenoord are definitely in the group stage as Dutch champions, although their pot has not yet been decided.
German upstarts RB Leipzig will be in pot 4.
WHO ELSE CAN STILL QUALIFY?
Liverpool take a 2-1 lead against Hoffenheim to Anfield tomorrow night and will be placed in pot 3 if they win on aggregate.
Celtic are a potential opponent and have one foot in the door after a 5-0 first-leg win over Kazakh side Astana.
Greek champions Olympiacos and Spanish side Sevilla are also in reasonable positions after the first leg, both winning 2-1, against Rijeka and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Sporting Lisbon drew 0-0 with Steaua Bucharest in the first leg, but are at home in midweek.
CSKA Moscow lead Young Boys 1-0, but play away, while Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva are leading Maribor 2-1.
APOEL Nicosia are leading Slavia Prague, while Azerbaijan champions Qarabag will be hoping to shock FC Copenhagen at home.
The Horsemen beat the Danish champions 1-0 in the first leg.
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