BARCELONA – The draw for the group stage of the Champions League to be held on August 26 in Istanbul began to outline its protagonists, pending completion with the last six teams that qualify in the play-off that will play their matches of Left next week and that will be added to Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev, the eight pending to be distributed between pots 3 and 4 of a draw that already has assigned to the remaining 24.
Knowing the rivals of the new Paris Saint-Germain of Lionel Messi, who being the top favorite will not start as the head of the group, is seen as the main news of that day … In which it will not be possible to pair with Barcelona or with the Real Madrid, who share the second bass drum with the French giant.
Discovering Messi walking through Europe at the head of a truly luxurious PSG alongside Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum or Marquinhos will be one of the great novelties of the season, in which a change also takes place Transcendental in the regulations: After the group stage, the ties tied after the second leg will go to extra time and penalty shoot-out if necessary, leaving the historic rule of goal advantage in the opposite field without effect.
Chelsea (champion of Europe) and Villarreal (champion of the Europa League) will share the group of heads of series with the winners of the main leagues: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Atlético de Madrid, Inter de MIlán, Sporting Lisboa and Lille; while PSG, Barça and Real Madrid will be included in the second drum accompanied by Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund.
The third pot keeps three places open to accompany Porto, Ajax, Leipzig, Atalanta and Zenit, while there are five teams that will have to join Bruges, AC Milan and Wolfsburg in pot 4.
Shakhtar Donetsk, Salzburg and Benfica would all go to pot three if they beat their final qualifiers for their higher UEFA coefficient, with Besiktas and Dinamo Zagreb trailing for now.
The final play off is divided between four heats on the champions route and another two for the non-champions (League route) whose confrontations will leave two considerable teams out of the tournament: on the one hand, Monaco and Shakhtar Donetsk will face each other while in the other duel will see the faces of two old champions of the competition: Benfica and PSV Eindhoven.
The winners of these two pairings will join the winners of the other four: Salzburg-Brondby, Young Boys-Ferencvaros, Malmoe-Ludogorets and Sheriff Tiraspol-Dinamo Zagreb to complete, together with the aforementioned Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev, the last eight participants.
If Dinamo Zagreb, Malmoe, Ludogorets, Ferencvaros and Sheriff have reached the playoffs after overcoming the first three previous rounds, along the way they were left with clubs with much higher pedigree in Europe such as Celtic and Galatasaray in the second round or Legia Warsaw, Olympiakos, Red Star, Rangers, Slavia Prague, Spartak Moscow or Sparta Prague.
The draw for the group stage establishes, as is known, that clubs from the same League cannot be paired, this time not applying the condition of avoiding bringing together Russian and Ukrainian clubs due to the absence of the former.
Despite this, first-order pairings can be produced … And even groups of real luxury can be established. This is how it is contemplated in view of the seeds … And even more so of the clubs of the second bass drum, authentic bones for the champions.