Tottenham Hotspur’s long European nightmare is almost over. Spurs are back in the Champions League for the first time since 2020, and they will find out who their group stages opponents are in the Champions League draw, which will be held tomorrow, Thurs. August 25, at noon ET. The draw will be held in Istanbul, Turkey and will be televised and streamed across the world.
There are still three games to be played this afternoon that will determine the final three teams in Pot 4, but the pots are finalized enough at the moment to get a pretty good sense of what the various permutations of the draw could be. Let’s take a look first at which clubs are in which pots.
2022-23 Champions League Pots
|Jar 1||Jar 2||Jar 3||Jar 4|
|Jar 1||Jar 2||Jar 3||Jar 4|
|Real Madrid (124.0)||Liverpool (134.0)||Dortmund (78.0)||Marseilles (44.0)|
|Eintracht Frankfurt (61.0)||Chelsea (123.0)||Red Bull Salzburg (71.0)||Club Brugge (35.5)|
|Manchester City (134.0)||Barcelona (114.0)||Shakhtar Donetsk (71.0)||Celtic (33.0)|
|AC Milan (38.0)||Juventus (107.0)||Inter Milano (67.0)||Viktoria Pilsen (31.0)|
|Bayern Munich (138.0)||Atlético Madrid (105.0)||Naples (66.0)||Maccabi Haifa (7.0)|
|PSG (112.0)||Sevilla (91.0)||Benfica (61.0)||Dinamo Zagreb / Bodø/Glimt|
|Porto (80.0)||RB Leipzig (83.0)||Sporting (55.5)||PSV Eindhoven / Rangers|
|Ajax (82.0)||Tottenham Hotspur (83.0)||Bayer Leverkusen (53.0)||Trabzonspor / Kobenhavn|
Pot 1 is a bit of a weird one this year. It contains the Champions League and Europa League winners (Real Madrid & Eintracht Frankfurt), plus the winners of the leagues of the top six leagues. That means that there are a number of teams in the “top pot” that have lower club coefficients than even some clubs in Pots 3 and 4. For Tottenham Hotspur, who sit in Pot 2, it means that while there are some sharks lurking in both Pots 1 and 3, there’s also the chance they could draw a very favorable group.
A reminder of the group stage draw rules: the teams will be drawn into eight groups with four clubs in each group, one from each pot. Clubs cannot be drawn against teams in their own federation in the group stages, so Spurs will not have to face any other club from England until/unless they make it to the knock-out rounds. Teams will face every other team in their group home and away, with the top two from each group progressing to the knock-out rounds.
Easiest group draw
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- Maccabi Haifa
Frankfurt won the Europa League, but finished 11th in the Bundesliga last season and have sold a number of their key players; they’re the Pot 1 team that every Pot 2 team wants to draw. Sporting is a solid team and finished second in their league last season but sold Matheus Nunes to Wolves recently. (They do, however, have formed Tottenham academy product Marcus Edwards on their books.) Most of Pot 4 is a homogeneous mix of not-very-good teams. The good exception is Marseille (scary, see below); the bad is Maccabi Haifa, who yesterday qualified by securing an improbable away draw at Red Star Belgrade courtesy of a 90th minute own goal. I’d feel pretty comfortable drawing them, even if means another flight to Israel.
Toughest group draw
Whoof. While it’d be fun to draw one of the heavyweights in Pot 1 (wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best) if they do they could very well find themselves in a group of death. Inter Milan didn’t win the Scudetto last season but have been the most talented team in Italy for two years running. Nobody was topping PSG in Ligue 1 last season, but Marseille came in second 15 points back, two ahead of Monaco, and have a team stacked with pan-European talent with a lot of names you’d recognize (Alexis Sanchez, Matteo Guendouzi, Nuno Tavares, Sead Kolasinac, Cengiz Under). They’re the whale in Pot 4 and should scare everyone.
All-Narrative group draw
If you want Tottenham-centric storylines during the group stages, these are your teams. Drawing Ajax would ensure a rematch of the Miracle of Amsterdam which sent Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 (Edit: and also the Eredivisie’s current leading scorer Steven Bergwijn, can’t believe I forgot about him). Napoli is a solid team, but Spurs also recently loaned them Tanguy Ndombele, and unlike in the Premier League he’s free to play against Tottenham in the Champions League. Celtic features not one, but two former Tottenham players in keeper Joe Hart and academy graduate Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Simulate the draw!
We do this every year, but it’s fun so let’s do it again! There’s an excellent European tournament draw simulator on the interwebz that allows you to virtually draw ping-pong balls out of a virtual bowl and examine all of the possible permutations. (For the three games yet to play, the simulator assumes the team with the higher coefficient will go through.) It’s fun, and you should totally post your random draws in the comments.
Here’s the first one I pulled. Gross.