Both Liverpool and Manchester United have seen their chances of landing a Champions League group of death next season slightly reduced after Chelsea won this year’s tournament.
The Blues edged out Manchester City 1-0 in Saturday’s night’s final in Porto, where Kai Havertz’s first half goal was enough to get the better of Pep Guardiola’s side.
The victory secured Chelsea’s second Champions League title nine years after their first, which they won by beating Bayern Munich in the German side’s home ground back in 2012.
City – who have still yet to win the Champions League in the club’s history – can at least console themselves with the Premier League title they won this season, Guardiola’s third English top-flight success in the past four campaigns.
That victory has put City into Pot 1 for next season’s Champions League, which is full of the winners of the top six ranked domestic leagues – Spain, England, Italy, Germany, France and Portugal – and this season’s victors of the two European competitions.
As the new European champions and tournament holders Chelsea also enter Pot 1 along with Villarreal, who beat Manchester United on penalties to win the Europa League on Wednesday.
After that defeat United were confirmed in Pot 2 along with Liverpool, who take their place in the top-ranking non-champions Pot due to their UEFA coefficient ranking in the last five years.
Had they lost the final then Chelsea would have also been in Pot 2, and that could have potentially caused a headache for the three English teams within it, as it would have knocked the dangerous Borussia Dortmund down to Pot 3.
With Premier League teams unable to draw each other, Chelsea, Liverpool and United were looking at the possibility of a nightmare group featuring both Dortmund and another tough opponent such as Atletico Madrid or Inter Milan.
But with Dortmund now in Pot 2, that means the only English team they could draw in the group stages will be Manchester City
United will doubtless have their eye on Villarreal as they seek some Champions League revenge for their Europa League defeat, and neither they nor Liverpool are likely to be too worried about the prospect of playing the La Liga side, French champions Lille or Portuguese title holders Sporting CP in the group stages.
Indeed, it is perhaps Chelsea and City who could face a tougher task in their group should they be drawn against a Pot 2 opponent such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain.
Pot 1 (confirmed)
Atletico Madrid, Man City, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Lille, Sporting CP, Chelsea, Villarreal
Pot 2 (confirmed*)
Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund
Pot 3 (provisional)
Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Porto, Zenit St Petersburg