The UEFA Champions League is nearing the start of yet another season of high-octane European footballing action with the best clubs going toe-to-toe. 

However, the initial road through the tournament for all the involved teams will be mapped out during the group stage draw ceremony, which is being held in Istanbul, Turkey this year.

Champions Chelsea will be hoping to defend the coveted title, while Paris Saint-Germain, bolstered by the arrival of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos, will give the London club a run for their money. 

As usual, Bayern Munich and Manchester City will be up there contending for the title, while Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, albeit not at their prime, will have an outside shout given their vast experience in the tournament.

When is the UEFA Champions League group stage draw?

The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage draw will take place from 9:30 PM IST on Thursday, August 26. 

How is the UEFA Champions League group stage draw conducted?

The 32-team roster is divided into four pots based on their qualification criteria and during the draw balls from each pot will be randomly drawn to fill in eight groups, with four teams each.

No team can play a side from their own league at this stage, meaning there will be no all-English ties until the knockout phase. UEFA will confirm any other restrictions ahead of the draw ceremony.

How to watch the UEFA Champions League draw live?

Fans can watch the UEFA Champions League 2021 live draw on UEFA’s official website. In India, the Sony network will broadcast the UEFA Champions League draw.

The following award winners will also be announced during the course of the draw ceremony:

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
UEFA Women’s Player of the Year
UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year
UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year

Goalkeeper of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Defender of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Midfielder of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season
Forward of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season

Goalkeeper of the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
Defender of the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
Midfielder of the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League season
Forward of the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League season