Monaco, This Wednesday will definitively mark

the beginning of the new Champions League season, once all of the

playoffs have been wrapped up and the 32 group stage teams are

known for sure before Thursday’s draw in Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum.

The composition of the four pots is quite defined, but there can

be significant variation in three of those depending on the results of the

ongoing playoffs.

Of the four, the first is already set.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are there because of their

respective European triumphs last season while the league champions

from Spain, Germany, England, Italy, France and Russia are also

included: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris

Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Seven of the eight are confirmed in pot two: Borussia Dortmund,

Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Roma and

Tottenham Hotspur.

The eighth member will depend on the result of PAOK v Benfica

on Wednesday.

The Portuguese side will join this pot should they progress, but if

not then Liverpool will take the vacant spot.

Lyon, Monaco, Schalke, Ajax and CSKA Moscow are the

guarantees in pot three while Salzburg and PSV Eindhoven are in the


Valencia and Viktoria Plzen could also get into this grouping.

The fixed names in the fourth pot are Bruges, Galatasaray,

Young Boys, Inter, Hoffenheim and AEK Athens.

This Champions League draw could throw up some really tough

challenges for the Spanish sides in the first pot.

Real Madrid could see Jose Mourinho return with Manchester

United or Iker Casillas come back with Porto while Carlo Ancelotti is

also a possible returnee with Napoli.

Barcelona could be paired with Roma again while Atletico Madrid

could see their coach Diego Simeone have a special reunion with Inter.

Valencia could also face Bayern Munich, allowing them to relive

the 2001 final when the Bavarians came out on top, the Spanish

MARCA newspaper reported.

Source: Oman News Agency