Sweden’s IFK Gothenburg v Bayern Munich, last year’s semi-finalists.
Arsenal v Fiorentina, trip to Italy for the English champs.
Serbia’s ZFK Spartak v Atlético Madrid
Juventus v Barcelona
Juventus, an unseeded team come first, and draw FC Barcelona in a huge fixture. Barca reached last season’s final.
Anne Vonnez, the women’s football competition expert, guides us through the process.
Making the draw will be Josephine Henning, four-times a winner of this competition, and who finished her career at Arsenal. She won it with FFC Turbine Potsdam, twice with Wolfsburg, and once with Lyon. She also lost in the final with PSG. Now retired and still just 29, what does she do now? She’s an artist with her own studio.
The chamber in Nyon is visible as Nadine Kessler, head of women’s football for Uefa takes on the role that used to be Gianni Infantino, back when he was the European governing body’s answer to Henry Kelly before becoming chief suit for Fifa. Rightly, she celebrates the summer’s Women’s World Cup and proclaims the success of last season’s Champions League which was “record-breaking” in terms of crowds and TV audiences. The challenge, she reminds, is to beat Lyon.
Uefa get us underway with some catchy Euro electropop, with a montage of all the clubs in the final 32 and the cities they come from. Any Uefa or Fifa event is a celebration of hands being reached across land and sea.
Some further details from Uefa on the tournament.
- Lyon have won the title four years in a row and six times overall, both records
- Wolfsburg and Arsenal (ending a five-year absence) are the other former winners involved while Barcelona, Paris and Fortuna are past finalists
- Brøndby are in the knockout rounds for a record 16th time; they, Fortuna and Lyon have featured in all 11 seasons of the round of 32 under this format
- Piteå, Lugano and Chertanovo will make their debuts in this round while fellow newcomers Braga came through the qualifying round
- Albania and Kosovo are represented in the round of 32 for the first time
- Anderlecht are also making their knockout bow
Round of 32: 11/12 & 25/26 September 2019
Round of 16 draw: 30 September 2019, Nyon
Round of 16: 16/17 & 30/31 October 2019
Quarter-final & semi-final draw: 8 November 2019, Nyon
Quarter-finals: 24/25 March & 1/2 April 2020
Semi-finals: 25/26 April & 2/3 May 2020
Final (Viola Park, Vienna): 24 May 2020
Here’s a report from last season’s final.
Unlike the men’s version of the Champions League, this is a straight knockout and all the better for that. It’s sudden death for everyone involved.
Who can stop Lyon? This season represents the chance to emulate the Real Madrid team of 1956 to 1960, who won the old European Cup five years in succession. They will be the team to avoid for the rest; Lyon won May’s final by beating Barcelona 4-1 and at a canter. Arsenal, last season’s Women’s Super League champions, are unseeded and face the possibility of pulling Lyon. Manchester City, who came second in England, are seeded.
How does the draw work? From Uefa:
- The 16 sides with the highest coefficient are seeded and placed in a separate pot to the unseeded teams, with each tie containing one side from each pot
- No club can meet a team from their own association. Any other restrictions will be announced ahead of the draw
- The seeds will play the second leg at home
- Matches 11/12 & 25/26 September
And here are the final 32, ranked by Uefa coefficient
Lyon (FRA, holders)
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Bayern München (GER)
Slavia Praha (CZE)
Manchester City (ENG)
Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)
FC Zürich (SUI)
Glasgow City (SCO)
Atlético Madrid (ESP)
Sparta Praha (CZE)
FC Twente* (NED)
St. Pölten (AUT)
ŽFK Spartak* (SRB)
FC Minsk* (BLR)
*Came through qualifying.