As much as the concentration may be on what Juventus needs to do to try and right the ship a little bit after a disappointing result to begin the week, there’s also a very important matter that’s now upon us.
It’s the draw for the Champions League group stage. Over to Istanbul we go!
Ah yes, the competition that Juventus had to scratch and claw to make sure it would be a part of this season as the schedule went on last spring. It wasn’t necessarily the last-minute escape job that Juve had to pull under Andrea Pirlo, but Max Allegri’s squad getting into Europe’s premier club competition proved to be a bare-minimum accomplishment in a season that was full of disappointment.
So, now we get to see who’s up next in Europe and only hope that Juve don’t put forward the kind of effort they did against Sampdoria over the course of their next six Champions League fixtures (at the very least).
The four pots of eight teams apiece are as follows:
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Eintracht Frankfurt, Manchester City, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, and Ajax.
Pot 2: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Tottenham.
Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Napoli, Benfica, Sporting, Bayer Leverkusen.
Pot 4: Rangers, Dinamo Zagreb, Marseille, Copenhagen, Club Brugge, Celtic, Viktoria Plzenm, Maccabi Haifa.
The rules are ones that have not changed much over the years. Juventus, out of Pot 2, will be drawn into a four-team group with one club from the three other pots. And because of the fact that clubs from the same country can’t be drawn against one another in the group stage, Juve can only face one of seven teams from Pot 1 and six from Pot 3.
From there, who the hell knows what is about to happen.
With the schedule being what it is due to the World Cup being played in late-November and December, the Champions League group stage will be much more compact than it usually is. Just by how much? Well, it’s pretty simple: By the time the second day of November rolls around, the group stage will be at its conclusion, with the final games of Matchday 6 being played and the field for the Champions League Round of 16 set for the Nov. 7 draw.
Basically, we will know Juve’s European fate — whether it’s the round of 16, the Europa League or new Champions League football until next season — before everybody goes off for the World Cup later in the month of November. That is nerve-wrecking, but just speaks to the abnormal nature of what this season’s schedule is going to be like.
(If you love Juventus playing games every three or four days, then the next couple of months are going to be your type of thing.)
Before all of that, though, we need to find out who’s going to be in Juventus’ group. That should be something that we can all get excited about, right? ............... Right?
HOW TO WATCH
When: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022; 7 p.m. local time in Istanbul, Turkey; 6 p.m. in Italy and around continental Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. Eastern Time; 9 a.m. Pacific Time.
Television: BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom).
Online/Streaming: UEFA.com, UEFA’s official YouTube channel (Worldwide).
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.