It’s the time of year for old men to pull balls out of bowls.
Wait... that sounded weird...
The Champions League Draw is always an exciting time of year, because it offers fans a glimpse at which teams they will have to overcome to make it into the Champions League group stage. This season, it will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. Borussia Dortmund are in Pot 2: here’s their position, along with the rest of the clubs in the competition:
The Champions League pots are set for Thursday’s draw pic.twitter.com/yZ0sTnmMOL— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 25, 2021
One team from each pot will be placed in each group. There are a few other restrictions. Certain clubs, like those from Russia and Ukraine, can’t play each other for political reasons. Then, of course, clubs can’t be drawn with any club from the same country. For this reason, BVB can’t be drawn in a group with Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, or RB Leipzig.
If I had to pick a club to avoid from each pot, it would be Manchester Cit from pot 1, Atalanta from pot 3, and AC Milan from pot 4 (although BVB obviously couldn’t draw both Atalanta and Milan). If I were to pick a club from each pot I’d want to play the most, I would choose Sporting, Shakhtar, and Sheriff Tiraspol.
While you’re all waiting for the draw to begin, feel free to play around with this draw simulator.
On my very first draw simulation, I drew Sporting Lisbon, Red Bull Salzburg, and Besiktas. This is pretty close to the optimal draw. While Salzburg would be tough, there are stronger possibilities in Pot 3, and the other two clubs would be significant underdogs against BVB. However, my next draw landed Dortmund in a group with Chelsea, last year’s UCL winner, Porto, and AC Milan. These two diametric results demonstrate that BVB can either draw what is for all purposes a cakewalk, or could be put in a so-called “Group of Death”.