Ahead of tonight’s Europa League meeting with PAOK, we explain how the round of 32 draw works with the Blues’ place in the knockout stages guaranteed…
Our victory against BATE Borisov in Belarus in the last Europa League matchday ensured we qualified from Group L with two games to spare. A solitary point gained in either of our final pair of matches, against PAOK tonight or away to MOL Vidi, will see us top the group. That will also be the case if MOL Vidi fail to beat BATE in today’s other game.
Following the conclusion of the group stages, the draw for the round of 32 will be made in Nyon on Monday 17 December.
Who is involved in the draw?
Along with the 24 teams who qualify from the 12 Europa League groups are the eight sides who finish third in their Champions League group. This is the path we took when we won the tournament in 2013.
How does the round of 32 draw work?
There are two pots of clubs for the round of 32 draw. The 12 Europa League group winners and the four best third-placed teams in the Champions League group stage are all seeded.
The 12 Europa League group runners-up and the remaining third-placed teams in the Champions League group stage are all unseeded.
The seeded teams are at home in the second leg. You cannot meet the fellow qualifier from your group, nor any team from the same national association.
How are the four best third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage decided?
A simple league table is used to determine the ranking of the third-placed teams, who are separated initially by points, then by goal difference, then by goals scored, then by away goals scored, and then by wins.
As it stands, with five out of six Champions League group games complete, three teams are guaranteed to drop into the Europa League round of 32: Valencia, Benfica and Club Bruges.
The remaining five spots are still to be decided. They are currently occupied by Inter Milan, Liverpool, Galatasaray, Shakhtar Donetsk and Viktoria Plzen.
If PSG beat Red Star Belgrade in their last group game, Liverpool need to win to nil or by two goals or more against Napoli to advance to the Champions League knockouts.
After Tottenham beat Inter Milan last night, they must match the Italian side's result against PSV Eindhoven when they play Barcelona away if they are to advance to the Champions League round of 16 and not drop into the Europa League.
Here is the Champions League third-placed table as it stands...
The Europa League round of 32 takes place on Thursday 14 February and Thursday 21 February.