The UEFA Champions League 2018/19 group stage draw, featuring more teams from Europe’s top five leagues and fewer representatives from the smaller ones, takes place Thursday in Monaco.
The last campaign was won by Spanish Giants, Real Madrid. It was their third consecutive time of winning the trophy and 13th time overall. They beat Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev in May.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are the Premier League representatives. Apart from Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are the other teams from the La Liga sides.
None of the top seeds can play each other, so Real will not be drawn in the same group as Ronaldo’s new club Juventus. Teams from the same country will be kept apart in the group stage as well.
But Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, five-time European champions, are among the leading names not in Pot 1, along with fellow Premier League clubs Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
They will all be hoping to avoid the biggest names in Pot 1, with Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow the least imposing name of all the top seeds.
There are some fresh names appearing in this year’s group stage. Former winners Inter Milan make a notable return to the competition for the first time since 2011/12.
AEK Athens make their return after more than a decade, while Swiss champions Young Boys and German club Hoffenheim are in the group stage for the first time.
Group A | Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, AS Monaco, Club Brugge
Group B | Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan
Group C | PSG, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade
Group D | Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray
Group E | Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
Group F | Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Group G | Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group H | Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys