The lineup for the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage has been completed with the final five qualifiers earning their places on Wednesday night.
This week’s ten play-off winners join the 22 automatic entrants in Thursday’s group-stage draw. VfL Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, AZ Alkmaar, Standard Liège, Unirea Urziceni, Debreceni, APOEL and FC Zürich will all be making their debuts in a competition which sees 18 nations represented in the group stage this year.
The 32 sides are split into four seeding pots, with one from each to be drawn into the eight groups, though no team can meet another from the same association. Seeds are based on UEFA’s coefficient system with holders FC Barcelona the top seeds and seven other leading clubs in Pot 1. The competition’s most successful side, Real Madrid, are in the second pot along with Italian teams Inter Milan and Juventus while, after extended absences, Atlético de Madrid and Fiorentina will compete in back-to-back editions having returned to Europe’s élite last season. They are placed in Pot 3 with German champions VfL Wolfsburg and Belgian counterparts Standard in the final pot
- Each of the eight groups, A through H, comprises one team from each pot.
- Teams from the same national association cannot be drawn into the same group. So, for example, if AC Milan are drawn into Pot 1 of a given group, Inter will be excluded from the possible opponents of that group even though they are in a different pot.
- The way the pots are set up, there exists the liklihood of a ‘Group of Death’. Imagine a pool with Barcelona, Inter, Bordeaux and Wolfsburg, for example.
With that made clear, here are the pots. Teams are given in order of their UEFA co-efficient ranking.
|Dinamo Kiev||Maccabi Haifa|
|VfB Stuttgart||FC Zurich|