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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Lowdown: What to watch for in the Uefa Champions League draw as Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona wait to see who they face

The 32 sides still in the competition will find out which group they are in from 8pm UAE time on Thursday.

Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are bidding to win the Uefa Champions League for a third successive season. Javier Soriano / AFP Photo
Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are bidding to win the Uefa Champions League for a third successive season. Javier Soriano / AFP Photo

The remaining 32 sides in the Uefa Champions League will find out who they are going to be put with in the group stages.

The draw takes place at 8pm UAE time and some strong groups should be guaranteed with the spread of sides across the four pots.

Defending champions Real Madrid, who are going for a third successive title, looking to the first side to complete three in a row since Bayern Munich between 1974-76, are in Pot 1 with seven other sides.

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Chelsea, the 2011-12 winners, return to the competition after an one-year hiatus, and Antonio Conte's men are among the other teams in the top pot, and Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are among the possible Pot 2 sides they could face.

There are five English sides in total in the competition, the most of any country, with both Manchester City and Manchester United in Pot 2, while Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are in Pot 3.

The rules of the draw dictate that no side can be drawn with another team from their country in the group stages, meaning none of the English clubs will face each other, while Real Madrid and Barcelona, despite not being in the same pot, will not have to take each other on at this stage.

Pot 1

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Benfica, Monaco, Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Pot 2

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Sevilla.

Pot 3

Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Napoli, Basle, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma and Besiktas.

Pot 4

Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag and RB Leipzig.

The first round of games are on September 12/13, with the group stages concluding in December.

This year's final takes place at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on May 26, 2018.