Ajax will be in the draw for the group stage of the Champions League in pot 2 on 1 October. The team from Amsterdam owes this favorable starting position to the elimination of Benfica in the third heat of the million ball.
Sevilla and national champions in pot 1
The Portuguese top club lost 2-1 to PAOK in Thessaloniki on Tuesday. Dimitrios Giannoulis was more alert than Jan Vertonghen in the 63rd minute and tapped in the first goal from close by. Fifteen minutes before the end, Andrija Zivkovic made it 2-0. Rafa Silva took care of the connection goal deep in injury time.
In principle Ajax would end up in pot 3, but still had a small chance of making pot 2. For example, Bayern Munich had to reach the final of the Champions League, Internazionale was not allowed to win against Sevilla in the Europa League final and Benfica had to be eliminated in the preliminary round of the million ball.
Bayern did indeed reach the final of the Champions League and even won the prestigious tournament by beating Paris Saint-Germain. Sevilla was too strong for Internazionale in the final battle of the Europa League, partly due to two hits by Luuk de Jong, 3-2, after which Benfica was eliminated on Tuesday.
Because of these results, Ajax will soon avoid some tough opponents in the group stage. FC Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea are also in pot 2 and therefore cannot draw against the team from Amsterdam.
Benfica was eliminated by PAOK in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Pot 1 includes Europa League winner Sevilla and the champions of the seven best-ranked countries in UEFA’s coefficient rankings: Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Zenit and FC Porto.
The layout of pots 3 and 4 is not yet fully known. At this point, it is only clear that RB Leipzig, Internazionale, Lazio and Atalanta are in pot 3 and Istanbul Basaksehir and Stade Rennes are in pot 4.
The start of the group stage of the Champions League is much later this season due to the corona stop. The first group matches are on October 20. A total of 26 of the participating 32 clubs are now known. The last six clubs will be announced in the coming weeks, when the play-offs are scheduled.
AZ failed to reach the group stage of the Champions League. The Alkmaarders were eliminated on Tuesday-evening in the third preliminary round by a 2-0 loss at Dynamo Kiev and will go to the Europa League.