Uefa Champions League: All you need to know

What are the match dates? When are the draws? Where is the 2024 final? See the key dates, schedule, fixtures for qualifying, group stage and knockout rounds – plus discover the 2024 Champions League final hosts. A repeat of the 1999 final, a fiercely competitive Group F and a thrilling set of opponents for the tournament debutants – we pick out the main storylines looking ahead to the new campaign.

A repeat of the 1999 final, a fiercely competitive Group F and a dazzling draw for the competition debutants – we take a look at some of the storylines to emerge from the 2023/24 Uefa Champions League group stage draw.

1999 finalists renew acquaintances

Returning to the competition after a one-year absence, Manchester United take on familiar opponents in Group A after being drawn against six-time winners Bayern. The Red Devils produced one of the most memorable comebacks of all time against the German club in the 1999 final, scoring twice in added time to spark delirious celebrations among the United fans. They have not had much joy against Bayern since, however, their only victory in the teams’ last eight meetings failing to overturn a 2-1 away reverse in the 2009/10 quarterfinals.

Bayern’s summer acquisition of England captain Harry Kane adds another layer of intrigue to an already fascinating match-up. The 30-year-old left Tottenham as the north London club’s all-time top goalscorer, with 280 goals in 435 appearances across all competitions. If Kane’s start to life in Munich is anything to go by, the Bavarians could be set for a memorable campaign.

Star-studded draw for Magpies

Over 20 years have passed since Newcastle last played Champions League football, and Magpies supporters could hardly have wished for a more glamorous draw on their return. Eddie Howe’s side can look forward to meetings with 2020 finalists Paris, 1997 winners Dortmund and seven-time European champions Milan in a gripping Group F. Their visit to San Siro in particular is sure to tug at the heartstrings of boyhood Rossoneri fan Sandro Tonali, who left Milan for St James’ Park in the summer.

Newcastle’s other opponents last faced each other in the round of 16 three years ago. An Erling Haaland double helped Dortmund take a 2-1 aggregate lead to Paris, but efforts from Juan Bernat and Neymar engineered a turnaround as then Paris coach Thomas Tuchel got one over his former employers. Having exited the competition in the round of 16 last season, both sides will be desperate to progress further this time around.

Debutants face 14-time winners

After qualifying for the inaugural Europa Conference League and progressing to the Europa League round of 16 last term, Union Berlin are involved in the Champions League group stage for the first time – and what a hand they have been dealt. Urs Fischer’s team have been pitted against 2011 Europa League finalists Braga, 2022/23 Champions League quarterfinalists Napoli and 14-time European champions Real Madrid in an intriguing Group C.

It has been a meteoric rise for the club from the German capital, who had just finished eighth in the second division when Madrid claimed their 13th title with victory against Liverpool in Kyiv five years ago. Having transformed into one of the Bundesliga’s most clinical counterattacking teams under Fischer’s stewardship, expect Die Eisernen to give their Group C opponents a run for their money – and maybe cause one or two upsets along the way.

Familiar foes collide

Like their Manchester rivals, reigning champions City also face familiar Bundesliga opposition in Leipzig, who ended up on the receiving end of a Haaland masterclass in the sides’ most recent encounter. The 2022/23 competition top scorer became only the third man to hit five goals in a Champions League game as the eventual winners earned a 7-0 last-16 second-leg victory to advance to the last eight in emphatic fashion.

Quarterfinal opponents last term, Benfica and Inter meet again in Group D. The two teams played out one of the games of the season back in April, drawing 3-3 in a thrilling last-eight second leg. Both sides will fancy their chance of progression but will need their wits about them against an entertaining Salzburg side and Real Sociedad, who are taking part for the first time in a decade.


• Wembley has undergone a massive transformation since it hosted the last old-style European Champion Clubs’ Cup final in 1992, but the new stadium has lost none of its prestige. The famous twin towers made way for an iconic arch over the stadium, which was totally rebuilt and is now one of the most modern and breathtaking arenas in the world.

• Boasting a seated capacity of around 90 000, the new Wembley reopened its doors in 2007 and is once again home to the England national side, as well as host to the nation’s premier domestic cup finals.

• Known as the ‘Home of Football’, Wembley has hosted seven European Cup finals – more than any other stadium. AC Milan defeated Benfica 2-1 in Wembley’s first European final in 1963 before Manchester United became the competition’s first English winners thanks to their 4-1 extra-time triumph against the same Portuguese side in 1968.

In 1971, Ajax beat Panathinaikos 2-0 to lift the trophy for the first time, and there was also a 1-0 win for Liverpool against Club Brugge in 1978. Barcelona then won their first European Cup there in 1992 with a 1-0 extra-time defeat of Sampdoria, and claimed the trophy for the fourth time in 2011 after overcoming Manchester United 3-1. Finally, Bayern beat Dortmund 2-1 in the all-German decider in 2013.

• Wembley Stadium hosted all three of England’s Group D games at Uefa EURO 2020, as well as two round of 16 matches, both semifinals and the final itself, with the hosts only denied their maiden triumph in the competition on penalties against Italy. The outcome was more successful for England at Uefa Women’s EURO 2022, as the Lionesses overcame Germany 2-1 after extra time to become European champions for the first time.

• The original Wembley Stadium, known as the Empire Stadium, was built as the centrepiece of a British Empire Exhibition a few years after the First World War, and was first opened in April 1923. It would serve as the focal point of English football until 2000, being demolished in 2003 to make way for the current structure.

• The old Wembley hosted the 1948 Olympic Games and the final of EURO ’96 but, from an English perspective, unquestionably its finest hour came on 30 July 1966, when Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick to inspire England to a 4-2 extra-time win against West Germany in the Fifa World Cup final.

When are the 2023/24 Champions League matches?

Matchday 1: 19/20 September 2023

Matchday 2: 3/4 October 2023

Matchday 3: 24/25 October 2023

Matchday 4: 7/8 November 2023

Matchday 5: 28/29 November 2023

Matchday 6: 12/13 December 2023

Round of 16: 13/14/20/21 February and 5/6/12/13 March 2024

Quarterfinals: 9/10 and 16/17 April 2024

Semifinals: 30 April/1 May and 7/8 May 2024

Final: 1 June 2024

What do the Champions League winners get?

The Uefa Champions League trophy stands 73.5cm tall and weighs 7.5kg. “It may not be an artistic masterpiece, but everybody in football is keen to get their hands on it,” said creator Jürg Stadelmann.

The winners will also earn the right to play against the winners of the 2023/24 Uefa Europa League in the 2024 Uefa Super Cup.

Source: supersport.

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