Tuesday 14 September 2021 4:54 pm

Champions League 2021-22: Which are the easiest and hardest groups?

The Champions League returns in earnest this evening when the group stage gets under way, with holders Chelsea mong those in action.

Despite the use of a seeding system to make the draw fairer, some groups appear to pack a lot more pedigree than others.

So which is the hardest Champions League group and which is the easiest? Using Uefa’s club coefficient ranking, we attempt to answer those questions.

Which is the hardest Champions League group?

There are two ways to assess which is the hardest Champions League group: by the combined coefficients of the four clubs, and by how evenly matched they are.

Going by overall quality, Group A – featuring Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge – looks to be the most difficult.

Its combined coefficient of 313.500 is the highest, slightly ahead of Group E, which includes Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica and Dynamo Kiev, and Group B, featuring Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan.

The most evenly matched group, however, is Group C, which includes Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas, with just 39.000 coefficient points between the strongest and weakest teams.

Which is the easiest group?

Again, the weakest Champions League group can be assessed either in terms of combined coefficient or how lopsided it is.

Group G, which contains Sevilla, Salzburg, Wolfsburg and Lille, has the lowest overall quality by some distance according to Uefa rankings.

The next smallest combined coefficient score belongs to Group C, followed by Group F, which features Manchester United, Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys.

Group D is also the most lopsided, boasting the biggest disparity between best and worst teams – the 80.500 points that separate Real Madrid and Sheriff.

Champions League groups by combined coefficient

Group A: Man City, PSG, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge313.500
Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev307.000
Group B: Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Porto, AC Milan304.000
Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg, Malmo257.500
Group D: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Sheriff Tiraspoll237.500
Group F: Man Utd, Villarreal, Atalanta, Young Boys236.500
Group C: Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Sporting Lisbon, Besiktas213.000
Group G: Sevilla, Salzburg, Wolfsburg, Lille176.500