Football: Arsenal's opponents in the Champions' League next season

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The Independent Online
The exact line-up for the Champions' League will not be known until the other domestic leagues finish and the European finals are concluded. Uefa then draw up a ranking order based on results over the last five years' European competition and which are usually formulated to ensure the biggest television markets can enter two teams in the competition.

One of these is seeded straight into the 24-team group stage and the other is given a qualifying tie against the champions of a less favoured nation. Thanks to the previous good form of English clubs, and the pockets of ITV, this means Arsenal will be seeded while Manchester United will be in the knock-out stage against the champions of the likes of Norway, Belgium, Austria and the 16 qualifiers from the first qualifying round.

That round, to be played in July, is where the champions of the Faroes Islands, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and either Celtic or Rangers come in.

PROBABLE LINE-UP

Seeded straight into Champions' League: Juventus, Barcelona, Arsenal, Kaiserslauten, Ajax, Porto, Lens or Metz, plus Real Madrid (if they win this year's final) or Spartak Moscow.

Seeded into final qualifying round: PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Internazionale, Lens or Metz, Bruges, Olympiakos, Rosenborg, Halmstad, Galatasaray, Sturm Graz, the champions of Denmark (probably Brondby), plus three from the Spanish runners-up (possibly Real Madrid), Spartak Moscow, Rotor Volgograd and Sparta Prague.

Pre-qualifying round: Champions of all other countries including Scotland (Celtic or Rangers), Wales (Barry), Northern Ireland (Cliftonville) and the Republic of Ireland (St Patrick's).

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