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Overview

Champions League: draw, format, fixtures & spectators

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The draw for the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stages takes place on Thursday. What's new? What's changing? An overview.

The spectators

As part of a pilot project, UEFA is set to allow standing at international matches for the first time in around 25 years. That will increase the stadium capacity at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in the UEFA Champions League by more than 15,000 – from 66,099 to 81,365. The previous conversion of the South Stand from standing to sitting meant there were two types of season tickets available: with the option of international matches – and without. Now though, all South Stand season ticket holders will be able to attend Champions League home games. Detailed information on this is being prepared and will be published soon.

The format

As per usual, 32 clubs will play in eight groups to determine the 16 participants in the knockout rounds. The third-placed team in the group will drop to the UEFA Europa League, while the bottom club will be eliminated.

The draw

The final six of the 32 participants will be clear once the play-offs have finished on Wednesday evening. The draw for the group stage will take place in Istanbul at 18:00 CET on Thursday 25 August. The teams will be divided into four pots. Pot one consists of the reigning champions, the winner of the UEFA Europa League and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations; pots two to four will be determined using the UEFA club coefficient ranking. For the first time since the 2013/14 campaign, BVB are only in pot three for the draw – meaning that they will not only face of the six best European domestic champions (possible opponents are Real Madrid, Manchester City, AC Milan, Paris St. Germain, Porto and Ajax), but will also go head-to-head with a representative from pot two (Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Tottenham).

The fixture list

Rather than ending in mid-December as per usual, the group stages will start early and finish on 2 November. There will only be 12 days between the draw (25/08) and the opening matchday (06/09). That will lead to organisational challenges and will require everyone involved to be as flexible as possible. "Fortunately, we now have so much experience and have such a good network that we do not expect any problems when organising travel for the team, sponsors and fans," said Thomas Hess, the managing director of besttravel.

The fixture list will be condensed due to the winter World Cup, with only a week between games on three occasions.

Matchday 1: 6/7 September
Matchday 2: 13/14 September
Matchday 3: 4/5 October
Matchday 4: 11/12 October
Matchday 5: 25/26 October
Matchday 6: 01/02 November

UEFA will not publish the fixture list on the day of the draw as they have done since 2019, but will instead make the announcement by Saturday evening at the latest (24:00 CET). (br)