The draw for the group stages of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League will take place this Thursday as fans wait with bated breath to find out who their team will be paired with in the first round of Europe’s premier footballing competition.
Barcelona endured a torrid run in the Champions League last season, crashing out in the group stage itself where they were drawn against Bayern Munich, SL Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv.
At one point, it even looked like the Blaugrana might not even qualify for the Champions League this season. But a strong push in the second half of the 2021/22 campaign saw them finish second in La Liga and book their ticket to the competition.
Barcelona have been drawn in Pot 2, with Pot 1 reserved for the champions of Europe’s top six leagues and last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners.
Of the eight teams in Pot 1, Barça will not be drawn against Real Madrid as teams from the same league are not paired in the group stages. The Catalans are left with Manchester City, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, PSG, FC Porto, Eintracht Frankfurt and AFC Ajax as possible opponents.
Barça ran into Bayern in the group stage last season, while they played Eintracht in the Europa League quarter-finals and fell short against the German outfit.
The Catalans will avoid heavyweights Liverpool, Chelsea and Juventus in the group stage as they are also in Pot 2 alongside Xavi’s men.
As for their possible Pot 3 opponents, it could be anyone from Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Napoli, Benfica, Sporting CP and Bayer Leverkusen.
A draw away from Signal Iduna Park can always be intimidating, while both Inter and Napoli can be tricky opponents, although the Blaugrana edged the latter in the Europa League last season.
Moving into Pot 4, five of the eight teams that could be drawn against Barcelona have been confirmed – Marseille, Club Brugge, Celtic, Viktoria Plzeň and Maccabi Haifa.
The final three slots will be decided after the qualifiers tonight, with the winners of Dinamo Zagreb vs Bodo/Glimt, PSV vs Rangers and Trabzonspor vs FC Copenhagen drawn.