Created on 28-08-2013 at 14:08 PM
At 6 pm CET on the last Thursday in August, all eyes at Bayern traditionally turn to the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, location for the Champions League group stage draw. This year is no exception: holders Bayern occupy first place in the list of the 32 competing clubs for the 2013/14 competition and will be drawn from pot one with the other top eight teams, meaning FCB cannot meet the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid or Chelsea in the preliminary stage.
However Pep Guardiola’s men could yet end up in a hugely challenging group. Pot two contains strong teams such as Turin giants Juventus, Paris St. Germain and Atlético Madrid, and they were joined by AC Milan when the Italian side overcome PSV Eindhoven in their play-off second leg on Wednesday evening.
Of the teams in pot three, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk could be set for an early reunion with his former Munich team-mates with his new club Zenit St. Petersburg, who lead Portuguese side Pacos Ferreira 4-1 after the first leg and are odds-on to complete the job at home in the return. The pot also includes big names such as Manchester City, who are reportedly close to signing ex-Munich defender Martin Demichelis from Atlético, Ajax Amsterdam, Viktoria Pilsen, FC Basel and Galatasaray Istanbul with their midfielder Hamit Altintop.
Nor are the teams in pot four to be taken lightly. The biggest of them are Italian runners-up SSC Napoli, but Celtic, Real Sociedad, RSC Anderlecht, Steaua Bucharest, debutants Austria Vienna and FC Copenhagen could prove equally stubborn opponents. The last five places in the 32-strong field for the 2013/14 Champions League were claimed in Wednesday’s remaining play-offs.
The seedings and assignments into pots are determined according to UEFA coefficients based on performance over the last five seasons. Each of the eight groups includes one team from each pot. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together in a group, so Bayern will definitely not cross swords with Schalke (pot two), Borussia Dortmund or Bayer Leverkusen (both in pot three). The first group stage matchday is on 17 and 18 September, with the final in Lisbon on 24 May 2014.