With the 2019/20 season only finishing on 23 August, the autumn schedule for the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League is stacked tight. Here’s what we know so far.
Who has qualified for the group stage?
In all, there will be 32 teams in the group stage. There are 26 automatic qualifiers already confirmed, with six more to be decided through qualifying.
ESP (4): Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla
ENG (4): Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea
ITA (4): Juventus, Inter, Atalanta, Lazio
GER (4): Bayern, Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Mönchengladbach
FRA (3): Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Rennes
RUS (2): Zenit, Lokomotiv Moskva
POR (1): Porto
BEL (1): Club Brugge
UKR (1): Shakhtar Donetsk
TUR (1): İstanbul Başakşehir
NED (1): Ajax
Who are the holders?
Bayern return to the 2020/21 competition as holders having beaten Paris in the final in Lisbon to become European champions for a sixth time.
What has changed?
With 2019/20 only ending on 23 August, the principal change to the 2020/21 calendar is that everything is now a little later. Qualifying, which had been due to begin on 23 June, kicked off on 8 August, with the group stage draw on 1 October and the competition proper getting under way on 20 October. The knockout stages will be unchanged from the original schedule.
One leg or two? Fans or no fans?
All qualifying ties will be single-leg matches before reverting to home and away fixtures for the play-offs. The single-leg ties will take place behind closed doors.
When will matches take place?
08/08/2020–11/08/2020 Preliminary round
18/08/2020–19/08/2020 First qualifying round
25/08/2020–26/08/2020 Second qualifying round
15/09/2020–16/09/2020 Third qualifying round
20/10/2020–21/10/2020 Matchday 1
27/10/2020–28/10/2020 Matchday 2
03/11/2020–04/11/2020 Matchday 3
24/11/2020–25/11/2020 Matchday 4
01/12/2020–02/12/2020 Matchday 5
08/12/2020–09/12/2020 Matchday 6
16/02/2021–17/03/2021 Round of 16
29/05/2021 Final, Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul
Where will the final take place?
The final will take place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium, which had been due to stage the 2020 decider. Saint Petersburg, the prospective 2021 host, will now stage the 2022 event.
With a capacity of over 70,000, the venue stages Turkey national-team games and has at various times been a temporary home for Istanbul clubs Galatasaray, İstanbul Başakşehir and Beşiktaş.
Most famously, the Atatürk Olympic Stadium staged the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, Liverpool recovering from going 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the game on penalties – the so-called ‘Miracle of Istanbul’.
When are the draws?
17/07/2020: Preliminary round draw
09/08/2020: First qualifying round draw
10/08/2020: Second qualifying round draw
31/08/2020: Third qualifying round draw
01/09/2020: Play-off draw
01/10/2020: Group stage draw
14/12/2020: Round of 16 draw
19/03/2021: Quarter-final and semi-final draws
All draws take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.