The Champions League draw takes place in a couple of hours. With Barcelona in Pot 1, Atleti, Real Madrid and Valencia in pot 2, and Sevilla in pot 3, five of the eight groups will contain La Liga sides. The pots are:
Pot 1: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg, PSV
Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, FC Porto, Arsenal, Manchester United, Valencia, Manchester City, Bayer Leverkusen
Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Olympique Lyonnais, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiacos Piraeus, CSKA Moscow, Galatasaray, AS Roma
Pot 4: BATE Borisov, Borussia M'gladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, KAA Gent, Malmo FF, Lokomotiv Astana
This is the first time that Pot 1 contains champions of the eight top leagues in Europe; previously it was the top eight teams by UEFA coefficient. Had the old system been used this time, FOUR of the eight in this pot would have been Spanish (Valencia sneaking in at 8th, just behind Atleti), and Manchester United would have been in there too.
The new system helps clubs that have gotten markedly better in the last couple of years (the club coefficient is calculated based on the last five years' worth of European results).
Pot 4 always contains a few clubs from smaller European leagues who have fought their way through the "Champions Route" to qualify, but the presence of two Bundesliga clubs in that pot ought to worry some. Remember Villarreal's horrible draw when we were last in this thing? It could happen again. Recall that teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other in the group stage.
As a Villarreal fan, what should we want to happen? Quite apart from the like or dislike of particular clubs, we probably would be quite happy if all five of the Spanish clubs made it to the knockout rounds--the reason being they'll have to focus on this competition as well as the league. Also, since so much of the money in this comes from TV revenues, and they are divided up according to how many clubs from a given country are still active, the more Spanish clubs are still playing, the greater the total revenue to La Liga sides, but it gets divided more ways.
Remember too, the eight third-placed clubs drop into the Europa League. If there's one or more Spanish clubs in that group, and we are in the round of 32, our take declines.
This could easily be done in ten minutes with numbered balls picked out of pots, but that is not the UEFA way--it'll be drawn out as long as it can be. If you'd like to watch, here's where:
Date/Time: Thursday, August 27th, 2015, 5:45pm local time, 11:45am ET, 8:45am PT 4:45pm BST
TV: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport (UK), Ten Action (India)
Online streaming at UEFA.com as well.