The Champions League is back after five long months!
However, the competition we’ll be seeing over the next few weeks will be rather different to the one we’ve come to know and love.
It could be interesting, however, as the introduction of one-legged ties from the quarter-finals onwards gives the tournament more of a World Cup feel, and adds to the unpredictability of it all.
On top of that, some clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been playing regularly in recent weeks – will they be in better shape for it, or more tired out than Paris Saint-Germain, who have barely played competitive football since the spring, or Bayern Munich, whose domestic campaign ended a bit earlier than the likes of England, Italy and Spain?
It’s sure to be a good watch, and thankfully the UEFA website have provided us with a refresher of the new rules on substitutions, player registrations and all the rest.
See below for their reminders of what to expect when the Champions League gets going again this week…
How has the format changed?
Quarter-finals and semi-finals will now take place as single-leg ties, but the second legs of the round-of-16 matches will still be completed as normal.
Where will matches take place?
From the quarter-finals onwards, Portugal effectively become the host nation for the rest of the tournament, with all games to be played in these two stadiums:
Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Estádio José Alvalade
This week’s unplayed round of 16 second legs will be held at the clubs’ home grounds as normal.
The final will take place at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
Can clubs register new players?
Yes, teams can register a maximum of three new ‘List A’ players. UEFA list the following caveats:
- Each squad is still limited to 25 List A players (players can be removed to make room);
- Players must have been already registered and eligible to play for the club at domestic level since 3 February
Will there be more substitutes?
According to UEFA: “Teams will be able to make five substitutions but will only be allowed to make these changes at three points in the game. These three occasions do not include changes at half-time, between the end of normal playing time and extra time, and at half-time during extra time. One additional substitution will be allowed during extra time.
“There will also be more player to choose from: a total of 23 players will be allowed on the match sheet instead of 18, something usually only permitted for the final.”
When are the matches?
Round of 16 7/8 August
Quarter-finals 12-15 August
Semi-finals 18/19 August
Final 23 August
All matches kick off at 21:00 CET (8pm UK summer time)