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Champions League group draw 2016: Preview, what to expect, and how to watch the draw online

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The group stage draw is finally here, and it's time to find out who Napoli will face in their return to the Champions League.

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

It's finally time for the Champions League group stage draw, one of the most anticipated days on the football calendar. The pomp, the circumstance, the glamour -- all of it is on display in a way that we don't always get to see, and it's enjoyable to be a part of.

It's been a few years since Napoli have been here. Their struggles under Rafa Benitez kept them out, but last year's successes got them back into the promised land, and it's great to be back. There's some tricky potential draws ahead, but just having to worry about dealing with that is a treat in and of itself.

Let's not waste any more time: which draw pot will Napoli be in and who all could they wind up facing?

Team Country
Pot 1 Pot 2
Real Madrid Spain Atlético Madrid Spain
Barcelona Spain Borussia Dortmund Germany
Leicester City England Arsenal England
Bayern Munich Germany Manchester City England
Juventus Italy Sevilla Spain
Benfica Portugal FC Porto Portugal
Paris Saint-Germain France Napoli Italy
CSKA Moscow Russia Bayer Leverkusen Germany
Pot 3 Pot 4
FC Basel Switzerland Celtic FC Scotland
Tottenham Hotspur England AS Monaco France
Dinamo Kiev Ukraine Besiktas Turkey
Olympique Lyon France Legia Warsaw Poland
PSV Eindhoven Holland Dinamo Zagreb Croatia
Sporting Clube de Portugal Portugal Lodogorets Razgrad Bulgaria
Club Brugge Belgium FC København Denmark
Borussia Mönchengladbach Germany FK Rostov Russia

The rules are simple: the groups are filled by distributing the teams from each pot. We've all seen the process before, drawing the balls out of a bowl, and declaring which group each team goes into. No two teams from the same country can face off with one another, meaning Napoli won't face Juventus in the Champions League just yet, but there's a lot of potential for both fun and heartache for them to deal with before the group stage is done -- fun and heartache we'll get an idea of after today.

Possible draw scenarios

Ideal draw: Leicester City, PSV Eindhoven, FK Rostov

This is a very winnable group for Napoli. Eindhoven look as though they've taken a big step back from a season ago, Rostov aren't very good -- despite beating Ajax in the playoff, because they're utterly awful -- and while Leicester are the defending Premier League winners, their accomplishment smacked of over-achievement, and they're due for a return to earth, especially without keystone midfielder N'Golo Kante in the side.

Horrow show: Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Besiktas

As my Tottenham fan friend I was talking about this with said, "I would drink bleach on that draw." Remember how unpleasant the Dortmund-Barcelona-Marseille draw was? This would be worse. Way worse. And way less likely for Napoli to get something out of it. So. Yeah. Bleach. Lots of bleach.

Want to mess with different draw scenarios? Check out this draw simulator on GitHub that's built to the specs of Champions League draw rules.

Watch it

When: Thursday, 12 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. local

Where: Monaco

TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S. - English), Fox Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), BT Sport 2 (U.K.), Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy)

Online: Fox Sports Go (U.S.), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.), UEFA.com

Listings from LiveSoccerTV.