Ten play-off winners joined the 22 automatic entrants in the group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, where the 32 sides were split into four seeding pots and one from each drawn into the eight groups. Seeds were based on UEFA's coefficient system and no team could have met another from the same association.
Where two sides from the same association qualified, they were paired to split their matches between Tuesday and Wednesday, so one club will always play at home on one day and the other will play away on the other day. In the case of associations with three representatives, only two teams were paired in terms of their fixtures; in the case of associations with four representatives, two pairings were made based on the TV audience.
To ensure sides from the same country play on separate days, the eight groups were distinguished by colour: Groups A-D were red and Groups E-H blue. When a paired club was drawn, for example, into one of the red groups, the other paired club – once it was drawn – was automatically assigned to one of the four blue groups.
Teams from Pot 1 were provisionally placed in the first position within their groups, teams from Pot 2 provisionally took the second spot in their sections, and so on. Once the draw was completed, a computer draw determined the final position of the sides within their group and therefore the order of the home and away matches.
2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage
Group A FC Bayern München (GER) Villarreal CF (ESP) Manchester City FC (ENG) SSC Napoli (ITA)
Group B FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS) LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA) Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR)
Group C Manchester United FC (ENG) SL Benfica (POR) FC Basel 1893 (SUI) FC Oţelul Galaţi (ROU)
Group D Real Madrid CF (ESP) Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) AFC Ajax (NED) GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
Group E Chelsea FC (ENG) Valencia CF (ESP) Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) KRC Genk (BEL)
Group F Arsenal FC (ENG) Olympique de Marseille (FRA) Olympiacos FC (GRE) Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Group G FC Porto (POR) FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) FC Zenit St Petersburg (RUS) APOEL FC (CYP)
Group H FC Barcelona (ESP) AC Milan (ITA) FC BATE Borisov (BLR) FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)