Newcastle United could be left with the Champions League group from hell after securing qualification to European football’s premier competition with a 0-0 draw with Leicester. The Magpies have made it into the tournament for the first time in 20 years but are likely to be placed into pot four meaning a tricky task awaits.
There are no easy teams in pot one which will be made up of league winners. While the north-east side will be unable to draw Premier League winners Manchester City, the likes of Barcelona, PSG and Napoli are potential opponents.
Pot two is not much better with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig likely to be among the team ready to be drawn from there with all three clubs likely to provide a stern test for the Magpies. Bayern Munich could also be one of the potential pot 2 opponents with the Bavarians potentially set to miss out on the Bundesliga trophy with Borussia Dortmund just needing to win the title on the final day.
Pot three has no pushovers either with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lazio and RB Salzburg likely to be among some of the hardest opposition in there.
The situation means that Newcastle could be staring down the barrel of a wild Champions League group. The hardest draw on the basis of co-efficient ranking alone would currently be Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk in a star-studded line-up.
A difficult group is unlikely to take away from the experience for Newcastle fans with many actively wanting to play the biggest and best teams in Europe. St James’ Park will be one of the most daunting stadiums for teams to come to next season with the ground’s famous atmosphere likely to be ramped up even further next year.
The Magpies may need to spend big over the summer to create a squad capable of challenging on two fronts after an excellent season in the Premier League. The club do look somewhat light in central midfield and could potentially do with some defensive reinforcements to cover for injuries.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe barely hide his pride after the game as he praised supporters for all their help over the season.
“It’s a big relief,” he told Sky Sports. “An amazing night to see the supporters and just the general reaction to what we’ve achieved is incredible. And it has been a great evening for us.”
The first group stage match of the 2023/24 Champions League will take place on 19/20 September and Newcastle fans will await the draw in August with plenty of interest.