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:
- Spain: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal
- England: Man City, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea
- Germany: Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Dortmund and Wolfsburg
- Italy: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta and Juventus
- France: Lille OSC and Paris Saint-Germain
- Portugal: Sporting CP and Porto
- Russia: Zenit
- Belgium: Club Brugge
- Ukraine: Dynamo Kyiv
- Netherlands: Ajax
- Turkey: Besiktas
Matchday 1 is scheduled on 14-15 September; the final will be on May 28, 2022 in Russia.
UCL Season 2020-21 Awards
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
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.
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)
- Juventus: Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo)
- Atletico Madrid: Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese)
- Barcelona: Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Memphis Depay (Lyon)
- 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)
- Dortmund: Donyell Malen (PSV) Gregor Kobel (Stuttgart)
- RB Leipzig: Andre Silva (Frankfurt), Benjamin Henrichs (Monaco), Brian Brobbey (Ajax)
- Chelsea: Romulo Lukaku (Inter Milan)
- Liverpool: Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig)
- Manchester City: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
- 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:
- 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!