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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Champions League Draw - Thursday 28th August

Five British clubs will discover their Champions League opponents when the
draw for the group stages is made at 5pm on Thursday.

Holders Manchester United, along with Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Celtic
will be involved.

The 32 teams in the pot will be split into eight groups of four teams, with the
first set of matches due to be played on 16/17 September.

The four English sides will be kept apart after being made top seeds.

Celtic could face any one of the English sides after being drawn in the third pot
of clubs.

Liverpool and Arsenal both came through qualifying, along with the likes of
Barcelona and Juventus to make it to the lucrative stages of Europe's premier

European heavyweights like Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich
come into the competition at the group stages.

But Scottish side Rangers failed to make it through the qualifying stages,
while 2007 winners AC Milan missed out after finishing fifth in Serie A last

The eight group winners plus the runners-up go through to the knockout
stages of the competition, while the teams finishing third go into the Uefa

Rome's Stadio Olimpico will stage the Champions League final on 27 May
2009. The stadium was the venue for Liverpool's European Cup triumphs
in 1977 and 1984 and also played host to Juventus' victory in 1996.

AS Roma and Lazio, who play their home games at the Stadio Olimpico,
are involved in the competition.

The winner of the Uefa Club Footballer of the Year will also be announced
on Thursday.

England's 'big four' clubs provide 17 of the 20 players on the shortlist for
the award.

Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer and Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Carlos
Puyol are the only non-Premier League players to be nominated.

Teams in the draw for the Champions League group stages:

Pot one

Inter Milan
Real Madrid

Pot two

Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven
AS Roma
FC Porto
Werder Bremen
Sporting Lisbon

Pot three

Zenit St Petersburg
Steaua Bucharest

Pot four

Shakhtar Donetsk
Atletico Madrid
Dynamo Kiev
CFR Cluj
Famagusta Bate Borisov

Games will be played on the following dates:

16/17 September
30 September/1 October
21/22 October
4/5 November
25/26 November
9/10 December

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