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UEFA Champions League 2021-22: News, Updates, and NMA’s Mini-League

European competition returns to action beginning in the middle of September. NMA brings you the latest game changing new rules and transfers round up, and invites you to join our fantasy UCL mini-league!

Chelsea players celebrate with the  2021Champions League trophy Photo by Alexander Hassenstein - UEFA/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Build up and Schedule

Twelve clubs are preparing for the second leg of the UCL play-in this week. Six will qualify for the 32 team group-stage of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League tournament (and six will crash out).

Since Villarreal won the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League tournament, Spain will have five clubs in UCL this season. The group stage draw will be held on August 26 in Istanbul, Turkey. The draw will be streamed live on UEFA’s official website. Twenty six clubs from 11 countries are already directly qualified:

Matchday 1 is scheduled on 14-15 September; the final will be on May 28, 2022 in Russia.

UCL Season 2020-21 Awards

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

During the group-stage draw show, last season’s best players will receive their awards. In goalkeeping, Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Ederson (Manchester City) and Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) are the shortlisted finalists. The top three defenders are Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Ruben Dias (Manchester City) and Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea). Two more Blues (Jorginho and N’golo Kante) join Citizens’ Kevin De Bruyne on the list for best midfielder. At forward, the nominees underscored the minimal dependence of Chelsea and Man City on forwards: Erling Haaland (Dortmund), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern) and Kylian Mbappe (PSG).

Abolition of Away Goals

UEFA Executive Committee Meeting Press Conference - 17th June 2020 Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Following a “broad consultation process across football”, UEFA decided to scrap the away-goals tie-breaker from all competitions starting with the UCL qualifying rounds. According to UEFA, home advantage has declined tremendously recently; more details can be found in this UEFA article. The gist is that any aggregate draw will result in the match moving on to extra time regardless of away-goals.

UCL will also continue to allow five substitutes in regular match time with an additional sixth substitution in extra time. The full UCL competition regulations can be found here.

Transfer Highlights

PSG must be having one of the biggest summers in its history with the names that have been brought in. The French outfit spared no expense to acquire Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and GIanluigi Donnarumma, Oh — they also picked up some guy named Lionel Messi.


While the transfer window will remain open for more than a week, NMA will highlight the key transfers in for each club. Stay tuned for our group stage preview with more on all summer transfers.

  • AC Milan: Fikayo Tomori and Oliver Giroud (Cheslea) and Alessandro Florenzi.
  • Atalanta: Merih Demiral (Juventus)
  • Inter Milan: Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan), Edin Dzeko (Roma) and Denzel Dumfries (PSV)
FC Internazionale Unveils New Signing Denzel Dumfries Photo by Mattia Pistoia - Inter/Inter via Getty Images
  • Juventus: Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo)
  • Atletico Madrid: Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese)
  • Barcelona: Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Memphis Depay (Lyon)
FC Barcelona Sign Sergio Aguero Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
  • Real Madrid: David Alaba (Bayern)
  • Sevilla: Erik Lamela (Spurs), Marko Dimitrovic (Eiber), Gonzalo Montiel (River Plate)
  • Villarreal: Aissa Mandi (Real Betis)
  • Bayern Munich: Dayot Upamenaco (RB Leipzig)
Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Supercup 2021 Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
  • Dortmund: Donyell Malen (PSV) Gregor Kobel (Stuttgart)
  • RB Leipzig: Andre Silva (Frankfurt), Benjamin Henrichs (Monaco), Brian Brobbey (Ajax)
  • Chelsea: Romulo Lukaku (Inter Milan)
Romelu Lukaku shows #9 jersey - Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
  • Liverpool: Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig)
  • Manchester City: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Manchester City Unveil New Signing Jack Grealish Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images
  • Manchester United: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jadon Sancho (Dortmund), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
  • Club Brugge: Noa Lang (Ajax)
  • LOSC Lille: Amadou Onana (Hamburg)
  • Porto: Wendell (Leverkusen)
  • Sporting CP: Ruben Vinagre (Wolves)

NMA’s Group Stage Article Stream

For in-depth fantasy analysis of all eight 2021-22 Champions League groups, please see our Group Stage article stream here.

NMA’s UCL Fantasy Platform

UCL Fantasy is up and running again for the upcoming season, so go ahead and start picking your squads!

About one week ahead of MD-1, NMA will release an overview of the rules with tips on how to play. Until then, you can browse the rules by visiting the UCL fantasy platform.

And of course, NMA’s mini-league is already waiting for you:

  • League: Never Manage Alone
  • Code: 71MQALVG07

Be sure to hop in with us before kickoff! (Please note that you must create and finalize a team before you can join leagues.)


What else do you want to know about the upcoming UCL season? Do you have any additional news to share? Which club will take home the trophy this season? Please leave us a comment!