Before we know it, the Champions League will be returning to our screens and Football FanCast has run through the tournament’s key dates, qualified teams and much more.

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Who has already qualified for the Champions League?

  • England: Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle United
  • Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad
  • Italy: Napoli, Lazio, Inter, Milan
  • Germany: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Union Berlin
  • France: Paris Saint-Germain, Lens
  • Portugal: Benfica, Porto
  • Netherlands: Feyenoord

What is this year’s Champions League format?


This year’s Champions League is the same as what we have come to know it as - 32 teams will be split into eight groups of four, where the top two sides will qualify for the final 16.

Here, it will be a straight knockout over two legs, where away goals no longer count. The final is one leg, which includes extra time and penalties if required.

This will be the last time the Champions League plays out in this format, with the 2024/25 campaign set to be a completely different style.

The next edition of the Champions League will see the number of teams increased from 32 to 36, all competing in one league. Each team will play eight games, upping the total of matches from 125 to 189.

When is the Champions League group stage?


Preliminary rounds begin as soon as 27th June and finish at the end of August, while the group stage takes place between 19th September and 13th December.

Here are those group stage dates in full:

  • Matchday 1: 19th-20th September
  • Matchday 2: 3rd-4th October
  • Matchday 3: 24th-25th October
  • Matchday 4: 7th-8th November
  • Matchday 5: 28th-29th November
  • Matchday 6: 12th-13th December

Which pot will Newcastle be in?

Bruno Guimaraes celebrates for Newcastle United against Brighton & Hove Albion

Newcastle’s pot has yet to be decided, but they will be drawn in either pot 3 or 4. Pot 3's current projection sees RB Salzburg, AC Milan, Lazio and Crvena Zvezda, while pot four may include surprise packages Union Berlin and Lens.

This is the first time Newcastle have been in the Champions League since 2002/03, when they reached the second group stage (this no longer exists in the current format). They fell short, finishing third behind Barcelona and Inter.

Who could Arsenal face?


Arsenal will be in Pot 2 for the Champions League group stage draw. After a six-year absence, the Gunners finished second in the Premier League to Manchester City. As a result of being in Pot 2, they could potentially face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, Ligue 1 winners Paris Saint-Germain as well as recent Serie A champions Napoli.

2023 semi-finalists AC Milan could also play Arteta’s side, while Real Sociedad also have a chance of a trip to the Emirates.

Where is the 2024 Champions League final?


The Champions League final will be held at Wembley Stadium in London on 1st June 2024.

It will be the first time the stadium has held the showpiece event since 2013 when Bayern Munich triumphed over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund. Last season's Champions League-winning captain Ilkay Gundogan was on the losing side that night as Arjen Robben's winner broke the hearts of Jurgen Klopp and the Yellow Wall.

Where can I watch the Champions League final in the UK?


The Champions League final will be available to watch on BT Sport - soon to be known as TNT Sports - as well as streamed for free on YouTube for those who do not have the relevant subscriptions.

BT Sport has been the home of Champions League football in the UK since 2015 and enters a ninth season as rightsholder in 2023/24.

How will the 2024/25 Champions League format work?


Not without its controversy, the Champions League is going through a major shake-up going forward. In the 2024/25 format, 32 teams will become 36, while the number of games will increase from 125 to a total of 189.

This is because every team qualifying for the Champions League will compete in one league, in which all teams will play eight matches. The top eight teams will qualify directly for the knockout stage, with the following 16 teams (placed 9th-24th) entering a two-legged play-off round in order to claim a place in the round of 16.

From here, the format will remain the same as we currently know it. But can anyone stop Pep Guardiola's men this year?