Man City’s narrow 1-0 win over Inter Milan in Istanbul in June 2023 already seems like a long time ago and in football, teams are always looking forward to the next big game, rather than dwelling too long on past successes. And so Pep Guardiola and his team will be determined to defend their crown and will be thinking not about their impressive UCL campaign in 2022/23, but rather how can they make it through to the final on the 1st of June, 2024.
The next Champions League showpiece will take place at Wembley Stadium, and so the chance to play in a “home” final will only give City extra incentive to go all the way. Of course, it offers that same enticement to the other English sides in the competition: Arsenal, Man United and Newcastle. Read on as we take a look at the 2023/24 Champions League draw and provide you will all the key facts about this season’s competition.
Who Have the English Sides Drawn in the Group Stage?
Man United are in Group A, with Bayern Munich their toughest opponents. Copenhagen and Galatasaray make up the quartet. Arsenal are in Group B, where they will face Sevilla, PSV and French side Lens, which isn’t a bad draw. Newcastle’s reintroduction to UCL football is glamourous but daunting, as they are drawn alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Milan in what looks like the group of death. Defending champs Manchester City face RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys, a draw they will surely be very pleased with.
Group Stage Fixtures to Look Out For
As ever in the UEFA Champions League, there are some tasty fixtures to savour in the group phase. The following are definitely worth adding to your diary!
- 20th September, 2023 – Bayern Munich v Man United
- 12th December, 2023 – Man United v Bayern Munich (last game of the group)
- 3rd October, 2023 – Napoli v Real Madrid
- 29th November, 2023 – Real Madrid v Napoli
- 4th October, 2023 – Newcastle v PSG
- 28th November, 2023 – PSG v Newcastle
There are, of course, several other brilliant games but we can’t list them all. Highlights include Arsenal’s two games with Sevilla, pretty much every game in Newcastle’s group, and, if you want to see the best team in the world, all of City’s clashes too.
Who Will Win the 2023/24 Champions League?
According to the bookmakers, Man City have an excellent chance of retaining their crown. However, if they are to do so, they will have to become only the second team to manage the feat in the Champions League era. Despite the brilliant teams we have seen in this competition, such as Juventus’s amazing mid-1990s side, and Barca’s incredible team spearheaded by Lionel Messi, Real Madrid are the only club to defend their trophy since the rebrand in the early 1990s.
Of course Real actually won three in a row, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, so City have quite a target there. Pep will believe his side are capable of emulating Real and on a personal level he would love to add another CL trophy to the three he already has. City are priced at odds of 9/4, though more widely on offer at 2/1.
If Pep’s City can retain their crown as kings of Europe, the Catalan boss would join Carlo Ancelotti on four wins in the competition as a manager. However, Don Carlo, in charge at Real Madrid, will be bidding for title number five and if the bookies are to be believed the Spanish giants have a very decent chance. Real are third favourites at odds of 8/1 and with Jude Bellingham taking to life in a white shirt like hoisin sauce to a duck, the serial winners of this competition will be dangerous. If pushed, we would say they offer a touch more value than City given their pedigree and significantly lengthier odds.
In between these two clubs, we have Bayern Munich, priced at odds of 11/2. The Germans also added a marquee Englishman and, like Bellingham, Harry Kane has settled very quickly. Three goals and an assist in his opening three Bundesliga games will have settled any nerves and he might be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Bavarians.
With so many high-quality teams in the mix, calling the winner is hard. With Erling Haaland – scary-thought alert – sure to improve in his second season at the Etihad, City are worthy favourites. However, at almost four times the price, Real Madrid may just be our preferred bet.
2023/24 Champions League: FAQs
Want quick answers to the key questions? We’ve got them right here!
When & Where Is the Final?
The showpiece clash is scheduled for Wembley Stadium (London) on the 1st of June, 2024.
What Are the Key Champions League Dates?
The group stage will take place between the 19th of September and the 13th of December, 2023. The draw for the Round of 16 is on the 18th of December, with those games taking place on the 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st of February (first legs) and the 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th March (second legs).
The draw for the rest of the competition is on the 15th of March, with the quarters being played on the 9th and 10th of April, then the 16th and 17th. The semis are on the 30th of April and 1st of May, with the return legs on the 7th and 8th.
Which English Sides Are in the 2023/24 UCL?
Man City, Arsenal, Man United and Newcastle will all represent England.
Will Any Scottish Sides Be Playing?
Celtic progressed to the group phase and have been drawn against Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio, so may have an outside chance of causing an upset. Rangers were defeated 7-3 on aggregate by PSV at the final hurdle, the play-off round.
Who Are the Favourites?
Man City are warm favourites to defend their crown (9/4), with Bayern Munich next (11/2) and Real Madrid third favourites (8/1). Dark horses include Arsenal (12/1), PSG and Barcelona (both 16/1), plus Man United and Napoli (both 28/1).