UEFA Champions League draw 2013: Group stage set on Thursday

Harold Cunningham

There are plenty of possibilities for fun groups in the UEFA Champions League draw, which takes place Thursday in Monaco.

The UEFA Champions League group stage doesn't get underway until September 17, but the fun starts on Thursday when the groups are determined. Just after 11:30 a.m. ET, UEFA will conduct the draw for the group stage in Monaco.

Playoffs for the final stage concluded on Tuesday and Wednesday with minimal surprise. Olympique Lyonnais was probably the biggest name to miss out on the group stage, with Spain's fourth-place finishers Real Sociedad taking them out. Fenerbahce lost 5-0 to Arsenal, but they wouldn't have made the group stage even if they managed an upset. They were kicked out of European competition for match fixing.

If you're wondering how the pots could potentially play out, here's a tool to test various possibilities.

Borussia Dortmund's run to the Champions League final last season wasn't enough to get them into the top two pots, and they'll likely face a tough "group of death" scenario again. However, they won't deal with a total repeat of last year, since both Ajax and Manchester City are also in Pot 3 this season. The top spots in Pot 1 have remained relatively unchanged from last year.

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