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Clubs gear up for Champions League draw with Manchester City facing possibility of another nightmare group

Updated: Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 11:48 | Comments

Jesus Navas (r) along with other Manchester City recruits Alvaro Negredo (l) and Stevan Jovetic will aim to help the club make an impact in this year's competition
Jesus Navas (r) along with other Manchester City recruits Alvaro Negredo (l) and Stevan Jovetic will aim to help the club make an impact in this year's competition

Manchester City could face a repeat of last year's Champions League horror draw when the groups for this season are selected this afternoon.

Live coverage of the draw for the Group Stages of the Champions League from 16:40 on Thursday 29 August on RTÉ.ie (RoI only).

Twelve months ago, City's low seeding saw the club end up in a group with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax, then the champions of Spain, Germany and Holland respectively.

That contributed to a failure to make the knock-out stages - and possibly to the departure of Roberto Mancini as manager.

Another effect of that failure is that City's co-efficient continues to be low compared to the other English teams in the competition, and raises the prospect of another 'group of death'.

UEFA calculates clubs' co-efficient based on their results in Europe over the last five years and rewards consistency, and also takes into account the national team's co-efficient.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea will all be among the eight top seeds but it is almost certain that City will be one of the eight clubs in the pot of third seeds.

That leaves Manuel Pellegrini's side open to being drawn with holders Bayern Munich or Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The worst-case scenario would see City in a group with Bayern, now managed by Pep Guardiola, plus big-spending French champions Paris St Germain - who will be second seeds - and Napoli, the Italian club now managed by Rafa Benitez.

Napoli are expected to be among the fourth seeds, and are the club to avoid from that pot as Benitez has former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain among his new recruits.

The draw in Monaco will see 32 clubs divided into eight groups of four. Each group will be made up of one club from the pot of top seeds, one from the group of second seeds, one from the third seeds and one from the fourth seeds.

No club can be in a group with another club from the same country, or from the same pot of seeds, which means United, Chelsea and Arsenal will all be assured of avoiding each other and the biggest names in Europe until the knock-out rounds.

Celtic reached the Champions League group stages for the second successive season after beating Shakhter Karagandy in a dramatic play-off with an injury-time James Forrest goal.

They are in the fourth pot and could meet any of the top seeds. 

Champions League draw pots

Pot 1

Bayern Munich

Barcelona

Chelsea

Real Madrid

Manchester United

Arsenal

Porto

Benfica

Pot 2

Atletico Madrid

Shakhtar Donetsk

AC Milan

Schalke

Marseille

CSKA Moscow

Paris Saint-Germain

Juventus

Pot 3

Zenit St Petersburg

Manchester City

Ajax

Borussia Dortmund

Basel

Olympiacos

Galatasaray

Bayer Leverkusen

Pot 4

FC Copenhagen

Napoli

Anderlecht

Celtic

Steaua Bucharest

Vitoria Plzen

Real Sociedad

Austria Vienna

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