Thursday 17 August 2017

Who could Manchester United face in the group stages of next season's Champions League?

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Manchester United have qualified for the 2017/18 Champions League after winning this season’s Europa League by beating Ajax in the final in Stockholm.

Despite finishing sixth in the Premier League and thus outside of the domestic qualification places, United will return to European football’s elite club competition at the start of the next campaign.

United failed to qualify for the competition last season after only finishing fifth in the 2015/16 Premier League under Louis van Gaal.

United will enter the 2017/18 Champions League at the group stage.

As Europa League winners and because both possible Champions League winners (Juventus and Real Madrid) qualified for next season's group stages through their own domestic leagues, United do not need to go through a qualifying round.

The group stage is drawn from four pots. Pot 1 includes the Champions League holders and domestic league champions. The three remaining pots are seeded by coefficient rankings.

United are likely to be included in Pot 2 of draw, the highest seeded pot in the draw. They will be included alongside other high-coefficient non-champions like Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

United will be drawn with one team from Pot 1: either Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco or Spartak Moscow.

Pots 3 and 4 are yet to be fully confirmed, though Roma, RB Leipzig, Basel, Feyenoord and Anderlecht will all be included and are likely to be placed in these pots.

No. United’s victory does not affect Liverpool, who will enter the competition in the final qualifying round and have to come through a single two-legged tie to reach the group stage.

If they do so, England will have five representatives in the Champions League group stage.

The group stage draw will take place on Thursday 24 August in Monaco.

The first round of group stage games will be played across 12-13 September, with the sixth and final round of games across 5-6 December.

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