Europe’s attention will be drawn to Monaco on Thursday evening as the UEFA holds the group stage draw for this season’s Champions League.
The event gets underway at 5.45pm CEST.
Atlético Madrid are one of 32 teams waiting to find out the three opponents they will face at home and away over the coming months. As always, some teams will have tougher draws than others.
A change to the seeding format sees Atlético slip to pot two, potentially pitting them against one of Europe’s giants from pot one.
Under the changes, the first pot is comprised entirely of the holders and the champions of each of the top associations. (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia.)
As Barcelona are the current holders, the eighth spot goes to the champions of Holland, PSV Eindhoven.
This structure can see Atlético Madrid drawn with any one of Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Paris St Germain, Zenit St Petersburg, PSV Eindhoven or last season’s opponents, Juventus.
Another trip to Turin may go down well with Atlético, after the Italian champions have lost a number of key players since their run to the Champions League final last year.
Carlos Tevez has left for Boca Juniors, Arturo Vidal signed for Bayern Munich, whilst the legend that is Andrea Pirlo moved to the MLS.
Mario Mandzukic moved from Atleti to Juventus in the summer, but Atleti will feel they have a good chance to beat the Old Lady after four points from two games against them last year.
The two teams to avoid for los Rojiblanos will be Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Both strengthened massively through this summer’s transfer window, and being drawn against either will be a tough test for Atleti.
The odds of Atleti drawing are almost half what they should be, due to the presence of three English clubs in pot two. You can’t be drawn against a team from your own association, so the choices for Chelsea are either Bayer Leverkusen, Real Madrid, Porto, Valencia or Atlético.
A team each from pot three and four will round out the group. Interestingly, the presence of Olympiacos and Malmo in three and four respectively could mean an exact repeat of last season’s draw for Atleti.
One that Atlético might be happy with (despite another away trip to Malmo).
Testing draws for Atleti from pot three would include Roma, Galatasary and CSKA Moscow, whilst pot four contains teams including Wolfsburg, newcomers Gent and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
What is your dream draw? Who are your teams to avoid?
Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea , Juventus, Paris St. Germain, Zenit, PSV Eindhoven
Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City, Manchester United , Real Madrid, Porto, Valencia
CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Kiev, Lyon, Olympiakos, Galatasaray, Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla
Astana, BATE Borisov, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Gent, Malmo