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Explainer: Everything you need to know about today's Champions League draw

We also take a look at the Europa League draw with Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Celtic in the pot.

Fans await with bated breath.
Fans await with bated breath.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE REAL BUSINESS starts here.

After safely coming through the group stages – some more unscathed than others – the day of destiny for the three Premier League clubs still standing in this season’s Champions League has arrived.

Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City will all discover their fate as fans and players around the continent await with bated breath to find out who they’ll face when hostilities resume in the New Year. The road to Berlin will become much clearer.

There is also plenty of British interest in the much-maligned Europa League. Tottenham, Everton , Celtic and Liverpool are all in the hat and will be hopeful of avoiding one of the seeded teams to drop down from the Champions League and, equally significantly, steer clear of a punishing trip abroad.

As we’re all aware, Uefa like to make these occasions as protracted as possible with a multitude of montages and, of course, the protocol of a dignitary taking an eternity to explain the procedure and the various rules and regulations – just draw the balls!

So, with that in mind, we’ve simplified matters for you by compiling a list of everything you need to know, without the blather.

Where and when are the draws taking place?

Monaco Soccer UEFA Draw Uefa's headquarters will be the setting on Monday morning Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Champions League Round of 16 draw takes place today at the Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The official starting time is 11am Irish time.

Former German international Karl-Heinz Riedle – who won the competition in 1996/97 with Borussia Dortmund – is the Champions League final ambassador and will conduct the draw alongside Uefa General Secretary Gianni Infantino and director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti.

Once the main business is taken care of, it’s the turn of the Europa League. The draw for the Round of 32 takes place at 12pm Irish time.

Which teams are in which pot?

There are two seeding pots. One consists of the eight group winners and the other is made up of the eight sides that finished runners-up in their respective groups.

No team can play a club from their group or any side from their own country.

screenshot.1418478206.8723 Source: Uefa.com

As for the Europa League, there will be two pots of 16 teams. The twelve group winners lie in the seeded pot alongside the four best ranked sides that finished third in their Champions League group – they are Olympiacos, Sporting Lisbon, Athletic Bilbao and Zenit.

They will be drawn against a team from the unseeded pot which consists of the 12 group runners-up and the remaining clubs that drop down from the Champions League, namely Liverpool, Roma, Anderlecht and Ajax.

screenshot.1418480067.79701 Source: Uefa.com

It’s important to note the teams that enter the competition from the Champions League at this stage are placed in a pot based on their points tally from their Champions League campaign and not on co-efficient ranking. Hence why Liverpool, Roma and Ajax are unseeded.

Like it’s older and more-talented sibling, no team can play a club from their group or one from the same association in the Europa League.

Who can the Premier League sides face?

Monaco Soccer Champions League Draw UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino will once again conduct proceedings Source: AP/Press Association Images

As outlined above, none of the English clubs can draw each other at this stage of the competition.

Having won their group comfortably, Chelsea face the prospect of a favourable draw, although it’s said there are no easy matches at this stage of Europe’s elite club competition. On paper, the trickiest tie for Jose Mourinho’s men would be Paris Saint Germain but whoever they get, the Blues will be confident of progressing.

Chelsea’s Possible Opponents: Juventus, Basel, PSG, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Arsenal fans can be forgiven for fearing the worst. Finishing behind Borussia Dortmund in Group D means they face the distant possibility of being paired with the big boys.

Arsenal’s Possible Opponents: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Monaco, Porto, Bayern Munich, Barcelona.

Man City booked their place in Nyon with a late show in Group E but, like Arsenal, are in the unseeded pot. Having fallen at this hurdle last year, Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be hopeful of finally making their mark in Europe.

Man City’s Possible Opponents: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Monaco, Porto, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund.

In the Europa League, Tottenham, Liverpool and Celtic are unseeded so could come out alongside some of the bigger names in the second-tier competition such as Inter Milan, Athletic Bilbao or Napoli. That said, there are some relatively weak sides still involved so the British clubs shouldn’t fear anyone.

Everton, having won their group, are in a slightly loftier position but the way the seeding worked, could face Roma or Ajax. They cannot, however, face their Merseyside rivals in this round.

When do the ties take place?

The knock-out stages of the Champions League take place over two-legs. The seeded teams (group winners) will be away in the first-leg and at home in the return match for the Round of 16 ties.

The first-legs will take place on 17/18 and 24/25 February and the second-legs are pencilled in for 10/11 and 17/18 March 2015. Uefa will confirm the exact dates after the draw.

With the Europa League only at the Round of 32 stage, they have ground to make up but the dates have to be confirmed by Uefa. As an aside, the final takes place in Warsaw on 27 May 2015.

Where can I watch the draw?

Both draws will be streamed live on Uefa’s website but if you’re near a telebox, Sky Sports News and Eurosport are showing coverage of the Champions League draw while the latter will also broadcast the Europa League one for all you Liverpool fans.

Of course, TheScore.ie will bring you up-to-speed as and when it happens.

Originally published 14 December, 18.00.

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Ryan Bailey

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