Twenty of Europe's top football clubs will go into the pot this Friday, for the final round of qualifying for the group stages of the 2013/14 Champions League. The play-off round features some of the biggest clubs from the continent, with former champions AC Milan, Premier League giants Arsenal and Scottish champions Celtic lurking.

The draw will take place at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The first legs will be played on 20/21 August and the return the following week.

Arsenal are becoming regulars in the play-offs

Where to Watch Live

The draw will take place at 11am BST, with Eurosport providing live coverage in the UK. Click here to follow the draw live online, on UEFA's official website.


Four former European champions will be in action and eager to ensure they book their place in the financially lucrative group stages. Milan (seven wins, with the most recent in 2007) and Celtic (once, in 1967 when it was called the European Cup) have won Europe's top title before and they will be joined by Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven (1988) and Romanians Steaua Bucuresti (1986).

And then there are minnows like Metalist Kharkiv of Ukraine, Pacos de Ferreira of Portgual, Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria and Shakhter Karagandy of Kazakhstan, all of whom are looking to make their debut appearances in the group stages.

The Gunners and the Bhoys represent the UK and will hope to join Premier League champions Manchester United, former champions Manchester City and 2012 winners Chelsea in the next round.

While being forced to play two extra games is far from ideal, the good news for Arsenal fans is they have a good record at this stage. They beat Serie A club Udinese in 2011/12 and Celtic in 2009/10. Arsene Wenger's men make their first appearance in European competition this season.

Meanwhile, the Scots beat Swedish outfit Elfsborg 1-0 on aggregate (Kris Commons scored the only goal) to reach this stage and will be confident of progressing further. They enjoyed an excellent European campaign last year, making it to the first knock-out round before losing 5-0 on aggregate to Italian champions Juventus. The highlight, though, was the epic 2-1 defeat of Spanish champions Barcelona at Celtic Park in November.

Lukas Podolski (R) and Per Mertesacker

The Draw

Of the 20 clubs, 10 teams are allocated to the 'champions route' and the other 10 to the 'league route', depending on how they qualified for this edition of the competition. Five in each section are seeded as per the club coefficient rankings established at the start of the season and will be drawn against the other five.

League Route

  • Seeded: Arsenal, Lyon, Milan, Schalke, Zenit St Petersburg
  • Unseeded: PSV Eindhoven, Metalist Kharkiv, Fenerbahce, Real Sociedad, Pacos de Ferreira

Champions Route

  • Seeded: Basel, Celtic, Steaua Bucuresti, Viktoria Plzen, Dinamo Zagreb
  • Unseeded: Austria Wien, Legia Warszawa, Maribor, Ludogorets Razgrad, Shakhter Karagandy

The 10 sides in the Champions Route and five unseeded teams from the League Route came through qualifying rounds. The five seeded clubs in the League Route earned automatic qualification to this stage.

Seeded teams will be placed in one bowl and unseeded clubs placed in other. The teams drawn first will play their first match at home.

Arsenal's Possible Opponents

Wegner will face one of Eindhoven, Fenerbahce, Sociedad, Kharkiv or Pacos de Ferreira. Arguably, the Portuguese will offer the most straightforward route to the group stages. Conversely, being drawn against either Eindhoven or Sociedad could make qualification an arduous task.

The Spaniards in particular could be quite a handful - the Basques come off a superb La Liga season and even if they have lost key midfielder Asier Illarramendi to Real Madrid they will be a handful.

Both Fenerbahce and Kharkiv will provide stern mental and physical tests, given the travelling required to get to Turkey and Ukraine respectively.

Celtic's Possible Opponents

Neil Lennon's side could face one of Legia Warsaw, Austria Vienna, Maribor, Ludogorets or Shakhter Karagandy.