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Competition format

The UEFA Champions League comprises three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, a group stage and four knockout rounds.

In matches in the three qualifying rounds and the play-off stage, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis. The club which scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.

Group stageThe ten winners in the play-off round ties – five from the best-placed path and five from the champions path – join 22 automatic entrants in the 32-team group stage. The clubs are split into eight groups of four teams, who play home and away against each of their pool opponents between September and December to decide which two teams from each section advance to the first knockout round. The third-place finishers in each group enter the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
Knockout phaseFrom the last 16 until the semi-finals, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 16, group winners play runners-up other than teams from their own pool or nation, while from the quarter-finals on the draw is free.
FinalThe final is decided by a single match, which this season will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 25 May 2013.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.

Draw schedule
Time, dateLocationDraw details
12.00CET, 25/06/12         Nyon     First and second qualifying rounds
12.00CET, 20/07/12Nyon     Third qualifying round
12.00CET, 10/08/12Nyon     Play-offs
18.00CET, 30/08/12Monaco     Group stage
12.00CET, 14/12/12Nyon     Round of 16
12.00CET, 15/03/13Nyon     Quarter-finals, semi-finals, final
 Match calendar
First qualifying round, 1st leg03-04/07/12
First qualifying round, 2nd leg10-11/07/12
Second qualifying round, 1st leg17-18/07/12
Second qualifying round, 2nd leg24-25/07/12
Third qualifying round, 1st leg31/07-01/08/12
Third qualifying round, 2nd leg07/08/08/12
Play-off, 1st leg21-22/08/12
Play-off, 2nd leg28-29/08/12
Group stage, Matchday 118-19/09/12
Group stage, Matchday 202-03/10/12
Group stage, Matchday 323-24/10/12
Group stage, Matchday 406-07/11/12
Group stage, Matchday 523-24/11/12
Group stage, Matchday 604-05/12/12
Round of 16, 1st leg12-13/02/13 & 19-20/02/13
Round of 16, 2nd leg05-06/03/13 & 12-13/03/13
Quarter-finals, 1st leg02-03/04/13
Quarter-finals, 2nd leg09-10/04/13
Semi-finals, 1st leg23-24/04/13
Semi-finals, 2nd leg30/04-01/05/13
Final (Wembley Stadium)25/05/13
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