When: Thursday, August 25 - 5:00 PM GMT, 12:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 AM Pacific
European Tour, anyone?
After taking the Premier League by storm last season, Leicester will officially begin their 2016/17 Champions League campaign with the group stage draw set to take place on Thursday in Monaco.
It will be the first time the Foxes have played in Europe since losing to Red Star Belgrade in the first round of UEFA Cup Qualifying in 2000-01. But this time around Leicester will be in Pot 1 alongside holders Real Madrid and the likes of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
The Foxes will reap the benefits of their Premier League triumph early by avoiding these European powerhouses in the group stages, but there’s still plenty of quality sides Leicester could find themselves facing in the coming months. I mean, that’s why they call it the Champions League, right?
Here’s the breakdown of who’s going to be in which pot during Thursday’s draw:
**All teams listed have had their spot in the group stages confirmed. The final team list will be decided following the final play-off matches on Wednesday.**
- Pot 1 consists of the holders (Real Madrid) and the champions of the top-seven ranked nations at the end of 2014/15.
Pot 1: Real Madrid (ESP, holders), Barcelona (ESP), Leicester City (ENG), Bayern München (GER), Juventus (ITA), Benfica (POR), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), CSKA Moskva (RUS)
- The remaining three pots are decided by each team's UEFA club coefficient as of the end of last season.
Pot 2: Atlético Madrid (ESP), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Arsenal (ENG), Sevilla (ESP), Porto (POR), Napoli (ITA), Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Pot 3: Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Lyon (FRA), PSV Eindhoven (NED), Sporting CP (POR), Club Brugge (BEL)
Pot 4: Monaco (FRA), Beşiktaş (TUR), Legia Warszawa (POL), Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)
The following teams are confirmed in the group stage but will only discover their pot after the play-offs end on Wednesday
Pot 2 or 3: Basel (SUI)
- Basel will be in Pot 2 only if Manchester City are knocked out.
Pot 3 or 4: Celtic (SCO)
The remaining slots will be confirmed after Wednesday's play-offs.
Here are some important dates to mark off in your calendar as Leicester make their way through Europe following Thursday’s draw:
When are the draws?
25/08/16: Group stage
12/12/16: Round of 16
When are the matches?
13–14/09/16: Group stage, matchday one
27–28/09/16: Group stage, matchday two
18–19/10/16: Group stage, matchday three
01–02/11/16: Group stage, matchday four
22–23/11/16: Group stage, matchday five
06–07/12/16: Group stage, matchday six
14–15/02/17 and 21–22/02/17: Round of 16, first leg
07–08/03/17 and 14–15/03/17: Round of 16, second leg
11–12/04/17: Quarter-finals, first leg
18–19/04/17: Quarter-finals, second leg
02–03/05/17: Semi-finals, first leg
09–10/05/17: Semi-finals, second leg
03/06/17: Final (National Stadium of Wales, Cardiff)
Who could the Foxes draw in the Group Stage?
Thanks to an idea from our Champions League counterparts Cartilage Free Captain, we can begin to speculate on where Leicester and its fans may end up traveling this Fall/Winter. Github makes it easy with their group stage draw simulator, allowing you to complete the draw as many times as it takes for you to find your perfect foursome.
With the last handful of teams having yet to qualify, the pots are completed by taking the teams with the best odds of of advancing to the group stage.
Here’s the three draws we got Leicester got from running the simulator:
First run-through and not bad.
If you’re hoping to get some notable away days, this might not be the draw for you. But from an advancement point of view, this could be one of the best outcomes. Gritty matches with Ukraine’s Dinamo Kiev and Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg (FC Salzburg in UEFA competitions due to sponsorship restrictions) while also entertaining Bayer Leverkusen could set the Foxes up nicely for a trip to the Round of 16.
Spurs will be drowning their sorrows Thursday night if this simulation comes to fruition. A group with holders Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and the ever-more doomed APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus could spell disaster for Spurs, and Leicester’s opponents look much more comfortable. A big match-up with Napoli followed by Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon and Razgrad Ludogrets of Bulgaria again isn’t the most scenic of draws, but could be favorable for the Foxes. Is Bulgaria nice in the winter?
The most challenging of draws by far, Leicester need to get through last season’s Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid and Ligue 1 second-place finishers Olympique Lyon with an extra addition from APOEL Nicosia. Leicester’s Group G gives the Foxes a tough group and a solid away day to a tough environment in Madrid, while Tottenham are once again screwed with Barcelona, Dortmund and Besiktas.
Everyone here at the Fosse Posse is excited for Thursday’s draw and picked the match-up they want to see the Foxes make in the group stage.
Jamie Umbach - away to Ajax: Leicester’s European campaign is a chance to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime season from the Foxes with another that features some great games and away days for the fans. I’d love to see some historic clubs come through the doors of the King Power, but I also want to see Leicester take on some great teams abroad. A fixture like Ajax away in Amsterdam would be a great match for the fans that would be well-traveled by Foxes’ supporters at a great venue.
Jack Lee - Atletico Madrid: I'll be bold and say Atletico Madrid because we want to be tested against the best outside of preseason. With both teams preferring to counter attack it should be tactically interesting too. I'll also be cowardly and say Atletico Madrid because if they take all six points off the other two teams it'll clear the way for Leicester to finish second.
Shane Evans - Sevilla: I would love to see Leicester grouped with Sevilla. A very tough opponent on the European stage and one the Foxes could emulate in the future. It’d be a very good test and one that Claudio Ranieri and co. would have to in top form to handle.
Who do you hope gets drawn into Leicester’s group on Thursday? Let us know in the comments below!