Champions League

Neymar denied Barca return in CL groups

2017-08-23 22:34
Neymar (Twitter)

Paris - Neymar will be denied an immediate return to Barcelona when the Champions League draw is made in Monaco on Thursday.

Both his Paris Saint-Germain team and the Catalan giants he left earlier this month for a world record €222 million have been placed in pot two -- amongst the second seeds.

Reigning champions and Spanish title-holders Real Madrid head the pot of top seeds -- the champions from the eight highest-ranked countries in the UEFA rankings.

England's Chelsea, Germans Bayern Munich, Monaco of France's Ligue 1, Portuguese giants Benfica, Serie A champions Juventus, Russians Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine make up the rest of pot one.

But if anything, pot two looks even stronger with both Manchester clubs, Borussia Dormtund, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Porto in alongside PSG and Barca.

Dangerous sides including Tottenham Hotspur and Italian pair Napoli and Roma lurk in pot three, with Liverpool potentially joining them if they get past Hoffenheim on Wednesday evening.

The final five qualifiers for the 32-team Champions League group stages will be known later on Wednesday.

Each outfit will be drawn into one of eight four-team groups where clubs from the same country are kept apart.

The draw will take place at 6pm (17:00 SA Time) in Monaco.

Pot 1:

Real Madrid (ESP/champions), Bayern Munich (GER), Juventus (ITA), Benfica (POR), Chelsea (ENG), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Monaco (FRA), Spartak Moscow (RUS)

Pot 2:

Barcelona (ESP), Atletico Madrid (ESP), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Sevilla (ESP), Manchester City (ENG), Porto (POR), Manchester United (ENG)

Pot 3:

Anderlecht (BEL), Basel (SUI), Besiktas (TUR), Napoli (ITA), Olympiakos (GRE), Roma (ITA), Tottenham (ENG), plus one more

Pot 4:

Glasgow (SCO/possibly in pot 3), Maribor (SLO), Feyenoord (NED), RB Leipzig (GER), plus four more teams

Group stage fixtures:

Matchday 1: September 12-13

Matchday 2: September 26-27

Matchday 3: October 17-18

Matchday 4: October 31-November 1

Matchday 5: November 21-22

Matchday 6: December 5-6

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Bayern Munchen v Besiktas, Allianz-Arena 21:45
Chelsea v Barcelona, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Sevilla v Manchester United, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Tuesday, 06 March 2018
Liverpool v Porto, Anfield 21:45
PSG v Real Madrid, Parc des Princes 21:45
Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Manchester City v Basel, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus, Wembley Stadium 21:45
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Manchester United v Sevilla, Old Trafford 21:45
Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Besiktas v Bayern Munchen, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Barcelona v Chelsea, Camp Nou 21:45
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