After four rounds of qualifying which began in June, the 32 teams who will contest the 2016-17 Champions League have finally been confirmed. The clutch of sides once again includes five from Spain after Sevilla won their third Europa League in a row, while four hail from the Premier League including debutants Leicester City.
The competition is also graced by some of the biggest sides across the continent; 11-time winners Real Madrid, La Liga champions Barcelona, Serie A winners Juventus and big-spending Paris Saint-Germain from Ligue 1. Coupled with a series of clubs from the basement of European football and you have another exciting season ahead as the road to the final on 3 June in Cardiff kicks-off in earnest.
When is the draw?
The draw for the Champions League group stage starts at 5pm BST on Thursday 24 August from Uefa's headquarters in Monaco.
The 32 qualified teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams labelled A to H, where they will play each other twice over six matchdays between September and December. The sides are taken from four pre-determined pots which are assembled based on each club's Uefa coefficient – which is calculated by their results in European competition over the last five seasons.
The exception is pot one, which compromises exclusively of the defending champions from the previous season plus the seven title winners from the top leagues in Europe, again based on Uefa's own ranking system. Those protected teams are the league winners from Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia.
Teams are drawn in pot order and initially positioned in order of the pot from which they came. No two teams from the same country can be drawn against one another, while sides from Russia and Ukraine are also kept apart for political reasoning. The draw is only complete when all 32 teams have been placed in the eight groups.
Pot one: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Leicester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, CSKA Moscow
Pot two: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Sevilla, FC Porto, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City
Pot three: FC Basel, Tottenham Hotspur, Dynamo Kiev, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Club Brugge, Borussia Monchegladbach
Pot four: Celtic, Monaco, Besiktas, Legia Warsaw, Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, FC Copenhagen, FC Rostov.
Who could the five British clubs draw?
Playing in the Champions League group stage for a 20th consecutive season the Gunners enter the new campaign at arguably their weakest ebb under Arsene Wenger. In the absence of captain Per Mertesacker they could do with a simple route to the knock-out stage and an opportunity to turnaround their woeful record of failing to finish top of their group. There is however an inevitability about a meeting with any one or the five former winners in pot one, or Juventus who nabbed Gonazlo Higuain from their clutches in the summer.
Best scenario: CSKA Moscow, Club Brugge, FC Copenhagen
Worst scenario: Barcelona, FC Basel, Celtic
Brendan Rodgers will have a second tilt at the Champions League after making a mess of Liverpool's return to the competition two seasons ago. In the knowledge his side's domestic campaign will be tinkered to accommodate their campaign, there are no excuses for the Northern Irishman not to harness the hostility of the Parkhead crowd and challenge for the last 16. Even Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale would prefer to avoid a trip to Glasgow.
Best scenario: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge
Worst scenario: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur
Arguably there is no such thing as a bad draw for Leicester, who are still riding high after being the story of the 2015-16 campaign. Foxes fans will be hopeful of some big-name opposition on their first route into Europe's top table, though ironically their title win will deny them a European heavyweight. They may have to settle for a visit from Euro 2016 to scorer Antoine Griezmann.
Best scenario: Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge, Ludogorets Razgrad
Worst scenario: Atletico Madrid, FC Basel, Celtic
Pep Guardiola's raison d'etre at the Etihad Stadium is very much to deliver European success, with no room for excuses even in his maiden campaign in English football. The Spaniard could do with an easy start but the prospect of a competitive meeting with former clubs Bayern Munich or Barcelona looms large. The start of Guardiola's tenure could yet be bumpy.
Best scenario: CSKA Moscow, Club Brugge, Ludogorets Razgrad
Worst scenario: Barcelona, FC Basel, Celtic
It is hard to envisage Spurs' Champions League campaign being half as exciting as it was under Harry Redknapp, but there is every chance they could at least the match quarter-final finish from six seasons ago. The north Londoners have the sturdiness at the back coupled with style going forward to surprise a few unsuspecting sides this term and you feel many of their young lights will not be overawed and may even benefit from testing themselves against a Real or a Barca.
Best scenario: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Ludogorets Razgrad
Worst scenario: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic
Group stage fixtures
The exact dates of each team's fixtures will be determined after the draw. The match days for the six group matches are as follows
13–14 September: Matchday one
27–28 September: Matchday two
18–19 October: Matchday three
1–2 November: Matchday four
22–23 November: Matchday five
6–7 December: Matchday six