YESTERDAY’S Champions League group stage draw was to be the last in its current format.

From next year, the 32-team group stage will expand to 36.

Joe Cole assisted Girgio Marchetti in conducting yesterday's draw


Joe Cole assisted Girgio Marchetti in conducting yesterday’s drawCredit: Getty
The draw in Monaco was to be the last in its current format


The draw in Monaco was to be the last in its current formatCredit: Getty

Rather than drawing eight groups of four, the 36 clubs will be sorted via the “Swiss model”.

Each team will play eight matches, with results all contributing towards one giant league table.

Teams that finish between first and eighth will go straight through to the knockout rounds.

While those between ninth and 24th will enter a playoff.

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Clubs in 25th to 36th will be eliminated – with teams no longer dropping down to the Europa League.

There will still be a draw to determine each team’s eight matches.

But league title winners and Europa League holders will no longer be prioritised into Pot 1.

Instead, last year’s Champions League winners and the eight teams with the highest Uefa coefficient will be prioritised.


Teams will face two other sides from each pot, including their own – meaning Pot 1 giants will meet each other.

Clubs from the same country could also now face each other.

The new-look group stage will run from September to January.

Fans realised that yesterday’s group stage was to be the last before the new format kicks in next season.

Reporter Miguel Delaney pointed out: “This is the last ever Champions League group stage draw.”

One fan replied: “What a shame. I love these.”

A second wrote: “Awful. This is fun.”

And a third blasted: “Mini Super League.”

Another added: “More dead rubber games coming in the future the competition is crap untill the QF stage.”

Yesterday’s draw was a mixed bag for English clubs.

Newcastle landed alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan.

While Manchester United will meet Bayern Munich, Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

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Holders Manchester City landed a more favourable group in RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys.

Arsenal return to the competition with matches against Sevilla, PSV and RC Lens.

Holders Manchester City received a favourable draw


Holders Manchester City received a favourable drawCredit: Getty

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