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Champions League draw LIVE: Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle learn their UCL opponents

Champions League draw LIVE: Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle learn their UCL opponents


It would certainly be sweet for Harry Kane to lift the Champions League on a return to London with Bayern Munich next summer.

Harry Kane of FC Bayern Muenchen during the unveiling of his signing on August 11, 2023 in Munich, Germany.

Harry Kane is looking to win a Champions League this season (Image credit: S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images)

The England captain scored a stunning 65 goals in all competitions in the two seasons – yes, just two – that Tottenham played under the arch. 

The draw is about to get underway on TNT Sports…

Paris Saint-Germain have completely remodelled – are they one of the favourites for the Champions League this time around?

Kylian Mbappe of PSG laughing

Kylian Mbappe: European champion in waiting? (Image credit: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Everything that made that side dysfunctional has been ripped out and replaced. Former European champion Luis Enrique is at the helm, with no Lionel Messi or Neymar, as the French giants look a lot more serious. Ousmane Dembele, Lucas Hernandez and Marco Asensio are all in, too. Could this finally be their time?

Shakhtar Donetsk have qualified for the Champions League but, of course, will not be playing their home fixtures in Ukraine for political reasons. 

1. Bundesliga 04/05, Hamburg; Hamburger SV; Blick aus der VIP Lounge des HSV in der AOL-Arena bei leerem Stadion 20.11.04.

Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion plays host for Shakhtar this season (Image credit: Malte Christians/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Instead, the club will be setting up camp at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion for their home fixtures this term. Ranked at No.57 in FourFourTwo’s Best Stadiums in the World list, it might be the only chance you’ll get to go to the ground for European competition, given that its permanent tenants Hamburg are languishing in Germany’s second division right now…

A fascinating addition to the Champions League this season is French side Lens, who have qualified for the first time since 2002. 

Andy Diouf of Lens, Vitinha of PSG in action during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and RC Lens (RCL) at Parc des Princes stadium on August 26, 2023 in Paris, France.

They’re under the Lens once more (sorry) (Image credit: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Les Sang et Or finished second in Ligue 1 last term, taking French football by storm – but things will be extremely tough for them this time around. Top scorer Lois Openda has gone to RB Leipzig in a record sale, while captain and midfield lynchpin Seko Fofana left for Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr. 

Having replaced the likes of Cheick Doucoure and Arnaud Kalimuendo over recent seasons, there is hope that Lens can rebuild adequately. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can make the step up to the Champions League.

Remember how Manchester City won the Champions League final last season?

Course you do. But in case you don’t, here’s Adam Clery with a tactical breakdown of how Pep Guardiola overthought the game yet again but still managed to come out on top.

Here’s one for trivia buffs.

Only two clubs have won the Champions League since 2000, having never won it in the 20th Century… that’s Chelsea (2012 and 2021) and Manchester City (2023). And they say money can’t buy you success…

It’s 60 years this year since Benfica first lost a Champions League final. It’s been a long, hard road since that.

Benfica coach and manager Bela Guttmann (1900 - 1981) with a group of journalists at White City in London, 4th April 1962. He had just accused Tottenham Hotspur of watering the pitch at White Hart Lane, in preparation for their game against Benfica the next day. The match was the second leg semi-final of the European Cup.

Benfica manager Bela Guttmann put a curse on the Eagles (Image credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Benfica coach Bela Guttmann went to the board in 1962, having just won two European Cups for the Eagles, to ask for a modest payrise. He was flat out refused – and he took the most severe revenge he could, declaring, “Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champions again.”

He was right. Benfica lost the final of the European Cup in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1988 and 1990, before losing UEFA Cup/Europa League finals in 1983, 2013 and 2014. Club legend Eusebio even visited Guttmann’s grave in 1990, begging for the curse to be lifted.

Will Benfica ever win the competition again?

Erik ten Hag’s record in European competition is impressive.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds the fans at Old Trafford after his side's 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest in August 2023.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has a good European record (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Dutchman has won 17 and drawn 7 of the 32 games he’s played in the Champions League – and that’s with an Ajax team that no one particularly expected much from in Europe’s elite competition.

Should United be one of the favourites this time?

Arsenal fans would love to see their side get to Wembley this time around, given how good their record there is.

ITV Pundit Laura Woods prior to the Women's Finalissima 2023 match between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium on April 06, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Laura Woods is dying to see Arsenal in the Champions League final (Image credit: Getty Images)

Excluding the two Premier League games away to Tottenham under the arch, where they drew both, the Gunners have won 15 of their last 16 appearances at Wembley, since they lost the League Cup there in 2011. Most recently they beat Treble winners City on penalties earlier this month in the Community Shield. 

Naturally, we had to ask TNT presenter and self-proclaimed Gooner Laura Woods how she’d feel about the prospect of seeing her club in a Wembley Champions League final

Making their debut in the competition are Union Berlin, who finished in the top four of the Bundesliga last season.

Union Berlin players celebrate with their fans following their sides victory in the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Koeln and 1. FC Union Berlin at RheinEnergieStadion on September 11, 2022 in Cologne, Germany.

Union Berlin are in the big time for the first time ever (Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Union won’t be playing their European fixtures at their home ground, Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, however. The ground doesn’t meet UEFA standards, so the Olympic Stadium down the road – used by local rivals Hertha – will be borrowed this season.

Wembley Stadium will be hosting the final of the Champions League once again this season.

The United States take on Japan in the Women's Football gold medal match on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.

Wem-ber-ley is hosting the UCL final (Image credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Previous Wembley finals:

1963: AC Milan 2-1 Benfica
1968: Manchester United 4-1 Benfica
1971: Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
1978: Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
1992: Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria
2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
2013: Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

European champions who aren’t in the Champions League this season:

Liverpool squad and backroom staff celebrate in front of the Kop after winning the UEFA Champions league semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 7, 2019.

Liverpool squad and backroom staff celebrate in front of the Kop after winning the Champions league semi-final second leg against Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield in 2019 (Image credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005, 2019)
Ajax (1971, 1972, 1973, 1995)
Juventus (1985, 1996)
Chelsea (2012, 2021)
Nottingham Forest (1979, 1980)
Aston Villa (1982)
Hamburg (1983)
Steaua Bucuresti (1986)
PSV (1988)
Red Star Belgrade (1991)
Marseille (1993)

Mateo Kovacic is on a mission to double an elite club this season. 

Manchester City unveil their new signing Mateo Kovai at Manchester City Football Academy on June 26, 2023 in Manchester, England.

 Mateo Kovacic is on the brink of history (Image credit: Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Famously, only Clarence Seedorf has ever won the Champions League title with three separate clubs. The legendary Dutchman was European champion with Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and later with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. Can Kova repeat the feat?

The Croatian is a four-time European champion, having lifted Old Big Ears for Real Madrid’s threepeat of 2016, 2017 and 2018 before doing so again with Chelsea in 2021. Now at Manchester City, there’s a very real possibility that he could be adding a fifth medal to his cabinet this time around…

This is the first time since 2017/18 that Ajax have not qualified for the Champions League.

Steven Berghuis of Ajax reacts after a missed chance during the UEFA Champions League group A match between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC at Johan Cruyff Arena on October 26, 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

There’s no de Godenzonen in the Champions League this season (Image credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The four-time European champions dropped to third in the Eredivisie after Erik ten Hag moved to Manchester United and won’t be involved this time around.

While we think of de Godenzonen as regulars of recent years, however, they’ve not had the best record since reaching the semi-finals in 2019. Only once have they managed to get out of the groups once in that time – when they topped the group in 2021/22 with six wins on the spin before falling to Benfica in the last-16.

The stage is set…

The UEFA Champions League Trophy is captured ahead of the the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw at Grimaldi Forum on August 31, 2023 in Monaco, Monaco.

The UEFA Champions League trophy is photographed ahead of the the Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage draw at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. (Image credit: Valerio Pennicino – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

About an hour to go before the buildup begins on TNT Sports.

Newcastle United are back in the big-time. You might have heard.

FourFourTwo issue 356

FourFourTwo issue 356 (Image credit: Future)

The last time that the Magpies were competing the Champions League, Alan Shearer was up front and Sir Bobby Robson was in the dugout. That was in 2002/03 and it’s safe to say that plenty has changed up in Tyneside since then. 

The latest issue of FourFourTwo takes a deep dive into what’s happened to the Toon in the past 18 months, as Newcastle gear up for European football once more. It’s available now!

2023/24 Champions League outright winner: Latest odds via BitcoinCasinos.com

Winners Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 final match between FC Internazionale and Manchester City FC at Ataturk Olympic Stadium on June 10, 2023 in Istanbul, Turke

Manchester City enter the Champions League as favourites (Image credit: Getty Images)

Man City – 2/1
Bayern Munich – 11/2
Real Madrid – 8/1
Arsenal, Barcelona – 12/1
PSG – 14/1
Man United – 16/1
Napoli, Newcastle – 20/1
Atletico Madrid, Inter – 28/1
Dortmund – 33/1
AC Milan – 40/1
Benfica, RB Leipzig, Sevilla – 50/1
Celtic – 150/1

There will be no Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, N’Golo Kante, Sadio Mane or Riyad Mahrez in the Champions League this year… but maybe next year.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr is awarded the Golden Boot after the team's victory in the Arab Club Champions Cup Final between Al Hilal and Al Nassr at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on August 12, 2023.

Is Cristiano Ronaldo going to return to the UCL? (Image credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia have held talks with UEFA over the possibility of Saudi Pro League sides entering the competition as a wildcard. No, really. Here’s everything you need to know about the situation…

They’re back – excited Gooners?

A detailed view of the draw card of Arsenal FC ahead of the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw at Grimaldi Forum on August 31, 2023 in Monaco, Monaco.

The draw card of Arsenal ahead of the Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.  (Image credit: Valerio Pennicino – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The trophies are here

A general view ahead of the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw at Grimaldi Forum on August 31, 2023 in Monaco, Monaco.

The Europa Conference League trophy, Europa League trophy and Champions League trophy in Monaco, ahead of the Champions League draw (Image credit: Valerio Pennicino – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The trophies are here. Of course, only the draw for the big one is being done today.

The Europa League and Europa Conference League draws are being done tomorrow morning. That’s because there are still teams fighting it out in qualifying tonight. 

Usually they’re all done together but… we’re guessing UEFA want to ease the clash of Deadline Day?

The other big change is that no longer are we in the ‘House of European football’ in Nyom, Switzerland. The draws are being made in Monaco today. The principality used to be a regular host for the Super Cup despite its ground, Stade Louis II barely being big enough to swing a furry animal – so this is a nostalgic trip back down memory lane for UEFA dignitaries who have gathered by the Med for this event. 

The pairings for the competition have already been drawn, meaning that these teams will play on different nights from one another:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Manchester City and Manchester United
🇪🇸 Sevilla and Atletico Madrid
🇪🇸 Barcelona and Real Madrid
🇮🇹 Napoli and Lazio
🇩🇪 Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
🇫🇷 Paris Saint-Germain and Lens
🇵🇹 Benfica and Porto
🇳🇱 Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven
🇮🇹 Inter Milan and AC Milan
🇩🇪 Leipzig and Union Berlin
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Arsenal and Newcastle United

This is the first season in 21 years that neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will be in a Champions League squad.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are no longer in Europe (Image credit: PA)

Ronaldo never played in the competition with Sporting, making his debut in the competition with Manchester United against Stuttgart in 2003. Messi, meanwhile, featured in Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2004 for his European bow. 

Fitting, then, that Messi left Europe for Inter Miami a year after Ronaldo’s last appearance in the competition, meaning that they both completed 19 seasons in the competition. 

The format is changing

This is the last time that the Champions League will look like this. From 2024, there will be 36 entrants into the competition, with the potential of five teams from the Premier League. 

Here’s FFT’s Adam Clery to explain everything… 

The pots for the draw today:

Pot 1

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Manchester City
🇪🇸 Sevilla
🇪🇸 Barcelona
🇮🇹 Napoli
🇩🇪 Bayern Munich
🇫🇷 Paris Saint-Germain
🇵🇹 Benfica
🇳🇱 Feyenoord

Pot 2

🇪🇸 Real Madrid
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Manchester United
🇮🇹 Inter Milan
🇩🇪 Borussia Dortmund
🇪🇸 Atletico Madrid
🇩🇪 RB Leipzig
🇵🇹 Porto
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Arsenal

Pot 3

🇺🇦 Shakhtar Donetsk
🇦🇹 Red Bull Salzburg
🇮🇹 AC Milan
🇵🇹 Braga
🇳🇱 PSV Eindhoven
🇮🇹 Lazio
🇷🇸 Red Star Belgrade
🇩🇰 Copenhagen

Pot 4

🇨🇭 Young Boys
🇪🇸 Real Sociedad
🇹🇷 Galatasaray
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Celtic
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Newcastle United
🇩🇪 Union Berlin
🇧🇪 Antwerp
🇫🇷 Lens

The stars are out tonight, to quote David Bowie

Joe Cole, Luis Figo and Henrik Larsson posing with the Champions League trophy

Joe Cole, Luis Figo and Henrik Larsson posing with the Champions League trophy (Image credit: Claudio Lavenia – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images))

Joe Cole, Luis Figo and Henrik Larsson are all in Monaco today for the Champions League draw and have all got their hands on the trophy ahead of the big event.

Hello and welcome to the Champions League group stage draw for 2023/24! Over the next few hours, we’re going to be bringing you the action as it happens, with five British clubs in the mix.

The groups will be drawn in Monaco – not long now to wait…

Read More

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