Tottenham face difficult Champions League draw
Tottenham could be faced with the daunting prospect of facing Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Roma in the Champions League group stages after the top seedings were confirmed.
Spurs are set to be in pot three for the draw in August, despite the club finishing second in the Premier League with 86 points – a record total and enough to win the title in 11 seasons since the league’s inception in 1992.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side can look forward to a second straight Champions League campaign, but they may have to do things the hard way.
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Monaco, Spartak Moscow are in the top pot after winning their domestic titles, while Ukraine champions Shakhtar Donetsk are promoted to pot one as the position reserved for the holders will not be used.
Pot two will provisionally consist of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Porto and Manchester United – provided Jose Mourinho’s side prevail against Ajax in the Europa League final – while Sevilla would be the eighth side should they come through their play-off.
It means Tottenham could come up against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the same group, or even face trips to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage.
But Pochettino’s men will be roaring on Ajax in the Europa League final this week, as they will be elevated to pot two if Manchester United are denied entry through defeat in Stockholm.
Italian side Napoli would similarly benefit by moving up a pot if Sevilla fail to come through their two-legged play-off.
Tottenham are unlikely to rest on their laurels regardless of who they are grouped with in Europe’s premier competition, after being handed a seemingly favourable draw in Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow last time around.
Meanwhile, the same fate awaits Liverpool should they come through their play-off in August, with pot three provisionally including Jurgen Klopp’s side along with Spurs, Napoli, Basel, Dynamo Kiev, Olimpiacos, Anderlecht and Ajax – depending on events in Sweden.
All other clubs to come through the Champions League qualifying rounds will be drawn from pot four alongside provisional Serie A runners-up Roma, RB Leipzig and Feyenoord who could be joined by Nice and Celtic.
Liverpool were drawn with Real Madrid during their last jaunt in the Champions League during the 2014-15 season, alongside competition debutants Ludogorets Razgrad and Basel, who pipped them to second place.
The Premier League will hope to improve on a poor recent record in the competition. In the past five seasons, England have provided just four quarter-finalists, compared to Spain (15) and Germany (nine) while France (six) are also ahead.