With the 2010/11 Champions League campaign over and Barcelona deservedly crowned champions of Europe, it's time to turn our attention to next season's tournament. After all, the draw's only a month away! What sort of surprises does it have in store for us this time around? Below is an attempt to project the qualifying rounds by just picking the highest ranked teams (by UEFA's standards, which are confusing and weird) to advance and then a look at the subsequent seedings and possible draws. Seedings are called 'pots' in UEFA-land, for some reason.
The top three English teams, assuming Arsenal get through, avoid a potentially irksome third-seeded opponent in Manchester City, but there's plenty of danger in pot four to worry them. Ligue 1 champions Lille, Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Udinese are all potential pot four opponents, which looks the strongest it has done for some time.
What's the strongest possible group? Well, it wouldn't be out of the question for Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester City and Dortmund to all wind up in the same group, which would probably be the most difficult in Champions League history. If you want a spectacle, that'll be a good one.
Bear in mind that these are preliminary seeding projections, though - if one of the top seeds that has yet to qualify, like Arsenal or Bayern Munich, fails to get in the tables will be severely shaken up, with Milan jumping into the top seeds and everyone else having a bit of a re-shuffle.