The Champions League group stage is now within touching distance as the pots for Thursday's draw were confirmed after the conclusion of the playoff round.
Benfica, PSV, and Red Star Belgrade were the final three teams to seal their spots in the competition's main draw Wednesday by emerging victorious against PAOK, BATE, and Red Bull Salzburg, respectively.
Each pot is made up of eight teams. Pot 1 consists of defending champions Real Madrid, UEFA Europa League winners Atletico Madrid, and the champions of the six highest-ranked nations – Spain, Germany, England, Italy, France, and Russia – while Pots 2 to 4 are determined by UEFA's club coefficient rankings.
Benfica sealed the final available spot in Pot 2 by virtue of their 4-1 second-leg win over PAOK. Had the Portuguese side been knocked out, Liverpool would have stolen that berth; as it stands, the Reds drop into Pot 3, thus potentially facing a considerably tougher grouping.
Here is the breakdown in full:
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow
Pot 2: Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Porto, Napoli, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica
Pot 3: Schalke, Lyon, AS Monaco, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, Liverpool, PSV, Valencia
Pot 4: Inter, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Young Boys, Hoffenheim, AEK Athens, Red Star Belgrade, Viktoria Plzen
Thursday's draw takes place at 12 p.m. ET in Monaco.
Clubs from the same country cannot be drawn in the same group, which could lead to some of Europe's heavyweights being pitted against one another; a quartet consisting of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, and Inter Milan is a possibility, for example.
The group stage kicks off on Sept. 18.
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