2015/2016 Champions League: All you need to know

Published: Monday 8 June 2015, 19.10CET
Who are the 22 teams already confirmed in the group stage? When are the draws and matches? Where is the final? Get the lowdown on the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.
2015/16 Champions League: All you need to know

Who has qualified?
Of the 32 sides that will contest the group stage this autumn, 22 are already known:
ESP: FC Barcelona*, Real Madrid CF, Club Atlético de Madrid
ENG: Chelsea FC*, Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC
GER: FC Bayern München*, VfL Wolfsburg, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
ITA: Juventus*, AS Roma
POR: SL Benfica*, FC Porto
FRA: Paris Saint-Germain*, Olympique Lyonnais
RUS: FC Zenit*
NED: PSV Eindhoven*
UKR: FC Dynamo Kyiv
TUR: Galatasaray AŞ
GRE: Olympiacos FC
UEFA Europa League winners: Sevilla FC

The remaining ten will come from qualifying, which begins at the end of June and culminates in August’s play-offs. The access list has not been finalised but you can see where teams from each country enter here.

Can Barcelona and Juventus meet in the group stage?
No. Following a change in the regulations, Pot 1 for the draw will now be formed by the champions of the top eight associations: Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, Russia and the Netherlands. So next season’s top seeds (based on 2015/16 access list) are: Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Paris, Zenit and PSV. There will be one side from Pot 1 in each group.

Where is the final?
In September, Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was selected to host the 2016 UEFA Champions League final. It is the fourth time the European Cup will be decided at San Siro.

San Siro 2009 2.jpg

When are the draws?

2015/16 UEFA Champions League draw schedule
Dates subject to change
Date Location Draw details
22/06/15 Nyon First and second qualifying round
17/07/15 Nyon Third qualifying round
07/08/15 Nyon Play-off round
27/08/15 Monaco Group stage
14/12/15 Nyon Round of 16
18/03/16 Nyon Quarter-finals
15/04/16 Nyon Semi-finals and final

When are the matches?

2015/16 UEFA Champions League match calendar
Stage Dates
First qualifying round, first leg 30/06–01/07/15
First qualifying round, second leg 07–08/07/15
Second qualifying round, first leg 14–15/07/15
Second qualifying round, second leg 21–22/07/15
Third qualifying round, first leg 28–29/07/15
Third qualifying round, second leg 04–05/08/15
Play-off round, first leg 18–19/08/15
Play-off round, second leg 25–26/08/15
Group stage, matchday one 15–16/09/15
Group stage, matchday two 29–30/09/15
Group stage, matchday three 20–21/10/15
Group stage, matchday four 03–04/11/15
Group stage, matchday five 24–25/11/15
Group stage, matchday six 08–09/12/15
Round of 16, first leg 16–17/02/16 and 23–24/02/16
Round of 16, second leg 08–09/03/16 and 15–16/03/16
Quarter-finals, first leg 05–06/04/16
Quarter-finals, second leg 12–13/04/16
Semi-finals, first leg 26–27/04/16
Semi-finals, second leg 03–04/05/16
Final (San Siro, Milan) 28/05/16
Last updated: 08/06/15 19.22CET

Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur: Hoole’s amazing start at Sydney FC

Andrew Hoole’s Sydney FC debut came on Saturday night against Tottenham Hotspur. Tonight, in front of 84,000, he faces newly crowned EPL champions Chelsea. Not a bad start to his Sky Blue career.

However, Hoole’s dream debut almost didn’t eventuate having to gain an early release from his Jets contract to link up with Sydney FC.

His deal was meant to start on June 1 but some late scrambling saw it brought forward a couple of days to allow him to face Spurs.

“It was a long process. It took a few days and lots of paperwork but I’m really glad it went through and happy to go out there and get some minutes,” Hoole explained towww.a-league.com.au.

“As a professional I finished off the season with the Jets but I was always looking forward to coming here with Sydney.”

The young attacker came off the bench in front of more than 71,500 fans against Tottenham on Saturday night and is set for more game time against EPL champions Chelsea at a sold-out ANZ Stadium tonight.

“It’s a nice welcome, obviously an easy game to start,” Hoole joked.

“I’ve only been here a week, I’ve had three sessions but I’ve really enjoyed it with Arnie [coach Graham Arnold] and the team.

“It was very difficult but was great to play against one of the best teams in the world in Tottenham. It was a good test for the team and a good test for myself to begin here.

“It gets much harder on Tuesday again with Chelsea. But we’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can get another good result.”

Hoole was thrown in the deep end against Mauricio Pocchetino’s finely tuned Spurs, who won the contest 1-0 thanks to a thunderous Harry Kane drive in the first half.

The former Young Socceroo came on at half-time against one of the biggest clubs in the world in front of the largest crowd he has ever performed in front of.

But there were some promising signs from the 21-year-old which showed just why Arnold was so keen to sign him on a two-year deal from the Newcastle Jets.

And Hoole wants more action against the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, John Terry and Co. tonight.

“You want to play against the best teams,” he said.

“It was good to start against Tottenham and now another big game Chelsea. It gets harder but we want to test ourselves at this club.”


Football Federation Australia

155,000 fans! Tottenham Spurs and Chelsea rock Sydney

More than 155,000 fans will have flocked to see English Premier League powerhouses Spurs and Chelsea in Sydney, further proof of football’s surging popularity in Australia.

An estimated 84,000 fans are set to cram into ANZ Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday) to see the newly-crowned and star-studded EPL champs Chelsea take on local Hyundai A-League side Sydney FC.

The Chelsea clash comes just three days after their London EPL rivals Tottenham Hotspur attracted more than 71,500 fans to ANZ Stadium for their clash with Sydney FC.

An entertaining match was decided by Harry Kane’s first-half goal, much to the delight of the supporters, who drooled over the English rising star’s every touch.

“There was great support and great atmosphere,” Kane said after the game.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are also set to put on a show for the supporters in Sydney.

‘‘We feel the responsibility of playing our best players. We feel the responsibility of trying to win, and giving everyone a good experience that comes to watch us, which is what we are going to try to do,” Mourinho said on Sunday at a packed press conference with the iconic Opera House as backdrop.

“You cannot lose, you cannot just play for fun, you have to go for a result.

“We are still celebrating [the EPL title] yes, we are already thinking about next season yes, but Tuesday is our last game of the season as a club.

“We want to compete, we want to try and give a good show,” he added.

“It’s very important for us as a club, it’s been a very long time [41 years] since Chelsea has been here and to come just a week after we are champions is even a bigger responsibility for us.”

Proving the Blues’ popularity Down Under, the players were given a rock star reception on arrival into Sydney on Sunday.

Hundreds of fans were on hand at Sydney Airport to greet their heroes, desperate to get an autograph or selfie with the players.

“It was overwhelming [to see that reception],” Chelsea skipper John Terry said.

“We got mobbed a bit. But we’re delighted to be here after such a long time. It’s going to be huge.”

But for EPL fans, the fun continues next month when Liverpool play two games against Hyundai A-League opposition.

And in mid-July the International Champions Cup will be hosted by the MCG featuring Real Madrid, Manchester City and AS Roma.

*Fans in Sydney have a chance to get up close to their Chelsea heroes tonight (Monday), with the club to conduct an open training session at ANZ Stadium from 6pm.

Football Federation Australia

Jose Mourinho names front-three as Chelsea land in Sydney

Jose Mourinho with the English Premier League trophy.

Jose Mourinho has promised to play a full strength Chelsea side against Sydney FC on Tuesday night and feels they have a responsibility to win for their huge legion of fans.

‘The Special One’ was at his charismatic best at Sunday’s official press conference at the English Premier League champion’s hotel overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Despite coming here after a long EPL season, Mourinho wants his side to put on a show – and even suggested they will “park the bus” to get a result.

“When the opponent has the ball you have to park the bus all the time, if you don’t concede goals you have more chances to win,” Mourinho said to a huge media throng at the Park Hyatt Hotel.

“I can give already to the coach Arnold [my team]. The front three I will play will be [Loic] Remy, Diego Costa and [Eden] Hazard.

“If we park the bus with these three [in attack] I’m sure we will be ok.”

The Blues arrived to a huge reception at Sydney airport on Sunday morning, just hours after beating a Thai All-Stars XI in Bangkok.

And there will be no taking their foot off the throttle now, especially against a Sydney FC outfit that took the game to Tottenham on Saturday night.

“What I’ve seen the few times I’ve watched matches in the Australian league, there’s always a good atmosphere, nice stadiums and people very enthusiastic, the game very enthusiastic too,” Mourinho said.

“We want a very good match. We feel always responsibility. You cannot lose, you cannot just play for fun, you have to go for a result.

“We are still celebrating [the EPL title] yes, we are already thinking about next season yes, but Tuesday is our last game of the season as a club.

“We want to compete, we want to try and give a good show.

“It’s very important for us as a club, it’s been a very long time since Chelsea has been here and to come just a week after we are champions is even a bigger responsibility for us.”

Asked what he knew of the Hyundai A-League and Sydney FC, Chelsea skipper John Terry said: “We’ve watched little bits, a couple of players have come this way from the UK as well.

“We’ll watch the game they played against Spurs as well to get a better feel.

“We know the standard will be very good and it will be tough in front of a very hostile crowd as well, supporting both sides we hope.

“We had Schwarzy [ex-Socceroos goal-keeper Mark Schwarzer] there who told us about it every day.

“When you do see it and look at the stadiums and the fans they are real passionate, very much like the English supporters.”

Football Federation Australia

Chelsea blockbuster set to break attendance record

The 2015 Asian Cup Final between Australia and South Korea at ANZ Stadium.
 The 2015 Asian Cup Final between Australia and South Korea at ANZ Stadium.
Sydney FC’s clash with EPL champions Chelsea is set to not only outsell Wednesday night’s State of Origin clash but break an attendance record for ANZ Stadium.

Almost 500 additional seats have been installed at the venue to ensure as many people as possible get the chance to watch Jose Mourinho’s men take on the Sky Blues.

The previous record crowd – after the ground was reconfigured from an 110,000 capacity after the 2000 Olympics – was 83,833 for last year’s NRL Grand Final.

But the new capacity has increased to 83,996 which is sure to be tested with a huge demand for tickets to see the newly-crowned English champions.

“This is a game that looms as one of those unique ‘where were you’ sporting moments and the clubs and the stadium want to do everything we can to ensure as many fans as possible can come and see English Premier League champions Chelsea against Sydney FC on 2 June,” ANZ Stadium’s General Manager Event & Business Development Greg Sleigh said via a statement on Tuesday.

“There’s a perception that the last tickets sold are always toward the back of the stadium – on the contrary, this is the perfect case where some of the best seating for the event has just come back on sale.”

The Blues, who are expected to name their squad for the tour on Tuesday night – are likely to a bring a full-strength side with them to Australia.

Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC v Chelsea: final tickets sales release Friday

Flag of Australia.svg Flag of England.svg
There’s good news for fans wanting to watch EPL champions Chelsea take on Sydney FC next month – a final release of tickets will go on sale on Friday.

A small number of tickets are available in all seating categories and will go up for sale at 10am this Friday.

Chelsea, who secured their fourth EPL crown earlier this month, will bring a star-studded squad to Sydney to take on the beaten Hyundai A-League grand finalists.

Players like skipper John Terry, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Didier Drogba are set to take on the Sky Blues at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday, June 2.

It will be the club’s first visit Down Under in 41 years and the first time their manager Jose Mourinho has ever been to Australia.

“As soon as the trip to Sydney was mentioned, the lads were very excited,” Mourinho said.

“We get to see our fans and they can see us. Hopefully we can put on a really good show for them against Sydney FC.”

Tickets start from just $49 for adults and $29 for children.

The game will be Chelsea’s only match in Australia and will be played just days after the Sky Blues meet another English Premier League giant in Tottenham Hotspur at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, May 30.


Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC friendly could mark exit point for Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Petr Cech

May 3, 2015 – 9:00PM

Sebastian Hassett

Football reporter

Chelsea's Ivorian striker Didier Drogba celebrates scoring at Stamford Bridge in London.

Chelsea’s Ivorian striker Didier Drogba celebrates scoring at Stamford Bridge in London. Photo: AFP

While next month’s friendly between Chelsea and Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium offers a rare opportunity for Australian fans to welcome the English Premier League champions-elect, it may also mark the farewell for two of the club’s greatest players, legendary striker Didier Drogba and champion goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Drogba, 37, comes out of contract on June 30 and has so far not been offered a contract extension despite scoring seven goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, while 32-year old Cech has been restricted to just 15 appearances, only six of which have come in the league after the arrival of Belgian international Thibaut Courtois.

Cech has been suggested as a target for both Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, although unlike Drogba – who has been linked with a move to the United States – he has another year to run on his contract. However, his patience for sitting on the bench appears is unlikely to last into a second campaign.

“It was a very different season to before and I had a completely different role to what I used to have and I had to find a way to go through the year,” Cech said via a phone interview from London. “Obviously we have games where we need to be always ready and every player, you want to play as much as possible, so my year was different to previous years. I had to find my way through.”

“I feel that every game I played I played on the level I was required to be, so it was very positive for me and it gave me the reassurance that I’m ready to play and I want to play. So let’s see what’s going to happen at the end of the season and what’s going to be the plan at the end of the season. I have no plans yet and as soon as the season is over, I’ll look to the future and just see what I want to decide. I feel that I’m fit and ready to play and I don’t want to lose time on the bench.”

Although Chelsea have come under fire for their “boring” style, conceding just 27 goals in 34 games, they’ve only scored two fewer goals than Manchester City – and the players aren’t the slightest bit perturbed about the jibes.

“Personally, everyone can have their own opinion but we are three points ahead and the league is always won by the team with the most points,” he said. “We are the team with the most points and we certainly enjoy that and we are proud of our achievement.”

The Czech Republic veteran knows manager Jose Mourinho isn’t discriminating on the basis of age, however, as both Drogba and the in-form John Terry, who turns 35 in December, have been getting plenty of game time.

“If you have the quality to play, it doesn’t matter if you are 40 or 18, you should have a chance to play,” he said. “Didier and JT have proven a lot of people wrong and it’s great to see they can compete at the highest level for another year and they will continue doing so.”

It’s the second time Cech has worked with Mourinho, the pair arriving at the same time in 2004. His secret to success, Cech claims, is simplicity.

“He’s great on taking on board and making everybody understand the way he wants to play, the way he wants to work and the way he wants people to work around him. That’s his biggest strength. He has players who know him, who’ve never seen him before, [new signings] you’ve only heard of, but everybody understands exactly the way he wants to play, exactly what he wants at the training ground and in the game. I think that’s a huge advantage and he’s one of the best in the world at this.”

Cech said he was expecting Sydney FC to give a strong account of themselves at ANZ Stadium on June 2, adding he had no qualms about the timing of the match – only one week after the end of the EPL season – as it was the only possible window to make the journey.

​”Usually in those games, the home teams want to compete and show what quality they have, so it [is an] interesting match-up,” Cech said. “I think it’s the only time if you want to go to Australia and to make sure all our supporters in Australia can come to watch us play live. It was the only possible week, because we have to be with our national teams for international games the week after, so we wouldn’t be able to [come later].

“It’s a chance after all these years to make our Chelsea fans happy because we know that not everyone can come to Stamford Bridge, so this is a great chance for them to come to the stadium and watch us play live.”

Tickets go on general sale on Wednesday,  the 40,000 pre-sales ticket allocation quickly exhausted last Friday.


The Canberra Times

Seven Network to broadcast Chelsea v Sydney FC

The Hyundai A-League received a significant boost today with Football Federation Australia confirming that the Seven Network has secured the rights to broadcast the hugely anticipated match between Chelsea FC and Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on 2 June.

The clash between the English Premier League Champions elect Chelsea and two-time Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC will be broadcast LIVE nationally at 8pm on 7Mate with coverage starting at 7pm (AEST).

The broadcast completes a dream four day showcase of the Hyundai A-League following the Sydney FC v Tottenham match at ANZ Stadium, also broadcast LIVE on the Seven Network on 30 May.

The Chelsea squad, led by mastercoach Jose Mourinho and containing global football stars Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, John Terry, Oscar and Diego Costa, will take on a Sydney FC squad, which is about to embark on the 2015 Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

There is a possibility the match could see the English Premier League Champions taking on the Hyundai A-League Champions – LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on the Seven Network.

“Football fans all over Australia will be excited by the news that the Chelsea v Sydney FC match will be broadcast live nationally on the Seven Network in what is another boost for football in Australia,” said FFA CEO David Gallop.

“Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in world football and they will take on a Sydney FC team that is right in the hunt to be crowned 2015 Champions. It is a great opportunity to showcase the Hyundai A-League on national free-to-air television.

‘The Seven Network has shown its appetite for football with broadcasts of the Melbourne Victory v Liverpool clash and the last two All-Stars matches against Manchester United and Juventus and this is a further step towards the mainstream for Australian football.”

Saul Shtein, Seven’s Head of Sport, said: “We are proud of our partnership with the FFA and are delighted to be the network entrusted with coverage of the Chelsea v Sydney match.  It’s a remarkable time for football over the coming weeks, with Seven also covering Tottenham – Sydney. Both matches are big events and we’re looking forward to bringing football to all Australians.”


Sydney FC v Chelsea FC

Tuesday 2 June 2015

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

8pm kick off (broadcast on 7Mate starts at 7pm)

Football Federation Australia

Chelsea to face Sydney FC?

Chelsea players celebrate their recent Premier League win over Manchester United.

According to reports, EPL winners-in-waiting Chelsea are set to play Sydney FC on June 2 at ANZ Stadium.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Jose Mourinho’s side, currently hot favourites to win the English Premier League, will be in the Harbour City for a one-off post season friendly.

If true, it would mean the A-League Finals Series bound Sky Blues would meet EPL opposition twice after their season ends in May.

Spurs are already confirmed to play Graham Arnold’s men on Saturday May 30 at the same venue.

Villareal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Roma and Manchester City are also confirmed for matches across Australia against various opposition, making this a bumper off-season calendar of football.

Football Federation Australia

Fabio Ferreira on Chelsea, Central Coast Mariners and the Socceroos

Mariners' Fabio Ferriera takes the field against Melbourne City in Round 20.

Central Coast Mariners’ explosive Portuguese-born winger Fabio Ferreira says he wouldn’t say no to the Socceroos if they ever called on him.

Signed earlier this season from Adelaide United, Ferreira has added an exciting new edge to the Mariners forward line.

He’s quickly become a fan fave in Gosford. And at 25, he’s coming into the best years of his career as he looks to make good on his potential – something the great Jose Mourinho saw a decade ago.

“Living in Australia for three years, I’ve seen a very good improvement in the football here.

“So far it’s been a very competitive league. And in Europe they don’t really realize how competitive of a league it is here in Australia and I think it’s getting bigger,” Ferreira told www.a-league.com.au.

“I’ve enjoyed playing here and [becoming a naturalized Australian and playing for the Socceroos] is something that is possible and I would never say no.”

Ferreira, from the Setubal region of Portugal,  learnt his trade at Portuguese powerhouse Sporting Lisbon.

But he soon caught the eye of Mourinho at Chelsea as a 16-year-old in 2004.

He played for the Premier League giant’s reserves and made his national youth team debut for Portugal U-19s during his stint in west London between 2005 and 2009.

But like many fringe players at big European clubs, failed to make the first team and was loaned out to lower league English clubs.

Ferreira returned home to spend the next couple of seasons in the lower tiers of Portuguese football before a family connection was the catalyst for him to make the move to Sydney in 2012.

His career was in limbo. But after eight goals in 12 games for semi pro outfit Dulwich Hill it alerted the scouts and a move into the Hyundai A-League with Adelaide came up.

After three years in Australia, the 25-year-old has found the Hyundai A-League and Australia to his liking. Though his experiences in England remain strong.

“The memories I have at Chelsea were amazing and it’s something that will always be a big part of my life.

“I wouldn’t be the player or the person I am if I didn’t go to Chelsea. I learnt a lot and it made me grow as a person.

“Now I have two more years with the Mariners I’m really focusing on the Mariners and bettering my football.

“My number one goals are to not be injured, to play every game and play well for the team, the club and the fans.”

Stepping into the number 26 jersey, Fabio Ferreira has made an easy transition to the yellow and navy kit with three goals so far.

Settling in to his new surroundings has proven positive for the winger coming off a somewhat tough season for Adelaide United.

“In Adelaide I wasn’t happy anymore, I lost my pre-season due to injury and my contract was ending and I had the opportunity to come to the Central Coast Mariners.”

There has been more change than first anticipated for Ferreira with Mariners’ coach Phil Moss stood down shortly after his arrival.

“It’s always hard when there’s a change in coach especially for me because the coach [Moss] was a big part of me coming to the club but the team responded well, that’s how it is in football, you’ve just got to move on and do the best you can.”

Scoring 12 goals for Adelaide, Ferreira claims his best “is never enough” with the recent move linking the winger with some of the Mariners’ best attackers.

“I think [Anthony] Caceres and I make some good combinations and work well with me and the style I play,” he says.

Ferreira’s Latino flair is one way to describe not only his play but his character as he aims to bring something new for the Mariners’ brass band in bay 16 to toot about.

And if “La Flecha” (that’s Spanish for “The Arrow” a nickname given to him by the Latin contingent in Adelaide) and  his goal scoring antics weren’t distinctive enough, Ferreira has added A-League viral video star to his name.

The winger’s recent goal celebration was sweetened by a celebratory smooch from a fan in the stands recently when the Mariners faced Melbourne City FC.

“Oh yes that was my cousin from Sydney. I knew they were sitting there so I purposely ran over there.

“I’ve had a lot of questions about that, even from my team mates so even I had to watch the video.”

**See Ferreira this weekend in what is set to be club skipper John Hutchinson’s final game in Gosford when the Mariners face the Wanderers on Saturday night. 

Football Federation Australia