The European elite will find out their fate, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all involved in the draw after finishing in the Premier League’s top four last season.
Last season saw the Champions League finish with a mini-tournament in Lisbon for the quarter finals, semi finals and final, with Bayern Munich blowing away the competition to be crowned European champions for a sixth time. Can anyone beat the Bavarians this season?
The Lisbon mini-tournament saw a number of rule changes made as football reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic and some of those measures have been extended into the 2020/21 season.
Here are some of those changes.
In Lisbon, clubs were permitted to make five substitutes off the bench. The idea was this would reduce the effects of fatigue that might have been felt due to the packed schedule and UEFA has extended this into the new season, once again using the risk of fatigue on players as a reason for this controversial change.
Champions League teams will be permitted to name a total of 12 substitutes to the bench, with managers allowed to introduce five in three different spells over the course of the 90 minutes of the match.
“This is the right decision and a good first step to ease pressure on elite-level players,” UEFA general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said (via BT Sport). “We will continue to push for further innovative ways to reduce their mounting workload and protect their health and performance.”
While the Premier League is tearing itself apart over a new interpretation of the handball rule, and how VAR is used, this season, nothing has changed in the Champions League.
The handball law currently causing mayhem in the Premier League was enforced by IFAB in last season’s Champions League. All that has changed is that the PGMOL have now brought their interpretation of the law in line with that of the rest of European football for this season.
This season has seen Premier League referees make more of a conscious effort to check VAR decisions themselves on pitch-side monitors, but this is something that Champions League referees have been doing since the technology was introduced to the competition for the 2018/19 season.
VAR will be available in the group stages of the Champions League, as it was last season, while Europa League sides will have to wait until the knockout rounds for the technology to be applied.