September 18, 2021

When does Champions League 2020-21 start and which teams have qualified for the group stage?

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We already know the majority of the clubs that will take part in next season’s tournament, but when does it kick off?

Public health concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic mean that the 2020-21 Champions League campaign has been pushed back by a number of months.

The final of the 2019-20 edition will be played at the end of August and the extraordinary nature of the Covid-19 crisis means that there is some crossover in the season calendars.

So when does next season’s Champions League begin and which teams have booked their places in the group stage of the competition?

Goal brings you all the details about the next edition of UEFA’s premier club competition.


  1. When does the Champions League 2020-21 start?
  2. Which teams have qualified for the Champions League 2020-21 group stage?
  3. When is the draw for the Champions League 2020-21 group stage?
  4. Champions League 2020-21 group stage teams by country
  5. Who won the 2019-20 Champions League?

When does the Champions League 2020-21 start?

Champions League 2020-21 kicks off on August 8 with the preliminary qualifying rounds and the group stage will begin two months later on October 20.

The qualification stage – which encompasses a total of five rounds – will conclude with the play-off round, with those games set for September 22/23 and September 29/30.

After the preliminary qualifying round, teams will pass through the first, second and third qualifying rounds before advancing to the play-off round, from which six teams will progress to the group stage.

With the qualifying rounds commencing in August, that means we will have the unusual situation of the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 Champions League seasons running at the same time.

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Which teams have qualified for the Champions League 2020-21 group stage?

The bulk of the teams are confirmed for the Champions League group stage. A total of 26 teams automatically qualify, with the remaining six coming through the play-off round.

A number of teams are already sure of their seeding pots, with the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus among those in pot one. Borussia Dortmund will be in pot two and Lazio in pot three. However as it stands the majority of seeding pots remain subject to change.

The only remaining automatic qualifiers to be determined are the winners of the Champions League and the winners of the Europa League.

If the winners of the 2019-20 Champions League have already qualified for the group stage through their domestic league, then Ajax will assume that berth as champions of the 11th-ranked association (Netherlands).

In the event that the 2019-20 Europa League winners have already qualified, Rennes will be elevated to the group stage as the third-placed team of the fifth-ranked association (France).

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When is the draw for the Champions League 2020-21 group stage?

The draw for the 2020-21 Champions League group stage is scheduled to be held on Thursday October 1 in Athens.

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Champions League 2020-21 group stage teams by country

Country No. teams Teams
🇪🇸  Spain 4 Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿  England 4 Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea
🇮🇹. Italy 4 Juventus, Atalanta, Lazio, Inter
🇩🇪. Germany 4 Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach
🇫🇷. France 2 Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille
🇷🇺. Russia 2 Zenit, Lokomotiv Moscow
🇵🇹. Portugal 1 Porto
🇧🇪. Belgium 1 Club Brugge
🇺🇦. Ukraine 1 Shakhtar Donetsk
🇹🇷. Turkey 1 Istanbul Basaksehir

Teams from Spain, England, Italy and Germany dominate the Champions League group stage, accounting for at least 16 of the 32 participants (four automatic qualifiers from each league). 

France and Russia have fewer automatic qualifiers (two each), with Portugal, Belgium, Ukraine and Turkey having one each.

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Who won the Champions League 2019-20?

The 2019-20 Champions League is still ongoing, with 12 teams still in with a chance to win the trophy. The final will be played on August 23, 2020.

The routes to the final have been plotted out though, so we have an idea of which teams will play each other in each stage.

On one side of the draw, a finalist will come from this group of teams: Real Madrid, Man City, Lyon, Juventus, Napoli, Barcelona, Chelsea or Bayern Munich.

One of these teams will take the second finalist’s berth: RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta or PSG.

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