UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 45
How they qualified: Czech champions
Best European Cup performance: group stage x2 (most recently 2013/14)
After four years away, coach Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň in May 2017 and guided them to a fifth league title and third group stage participation. Vrba will now hope to repeat or improve on the third-placed group finish of 2013/14 in order to cement his iconic status at Viktoria.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 50
How they qualified: Belgian champions
Best European Cup performance: runners-up (1977/78)
Club Brugge made a seemless transition to life after Michel Preud’homme, Croatian coach Ivan Leko steering the side to the title at the first attempt. His squad blends old with new – and Brazilian youngster Wesley is reportedly attracting interest from Europe’s elite.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 51
How they qualified: Turkish champions
Best European Cup performance: semi-finals (1988/89)
After a two-year break from this competition, Galatasaray – under the experienced Fatih Terim for a fourth time – regained the title last term. Not since 2013/14 have they gone beyond the group stage, but if the likes of Garry Rodrigues can reproduce their domestic form in Europe, who knows how far they can travel.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 74
How they qualified: Swiss champions, play-off winners
Best European Cup performance: semi-finals (1958/59)
Having ended Basel’s eight-year reign as Swiss champions, Young Boys make their group stage bow after play-off losses in each of the past two seasons. Gerardo Seoane arrived as coach this summer and has had a fine start with a more cautious approach than predecessor Adi Hütter.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 83
How they qualified: 4th in Serie A
Best European Cup performance: winners x3 (most recently 2009/10)
Returning to this competition for the first time in six years, the 2010 champions finally give a UEFA Champions League debut to Mauro Icardi, one of Serie A’s most prolific strikers. Nerazzurri also expect much from new boy Radja Nainggolan, who is reunited with ex-Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 99
How they qualified: 3rd in Bundesliga
Best European Cup performance: group stage debutants
Aiming to play attacking football on their group stage bow, Hoffenheim start the season already knowing it will be the last for 30-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will join Leipzig next summer. Expect Hoffenheim to rotate their starting line-up frequently.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 119
How they qualified: Serbian champions, play-off winners
Best European Cup performance: winners (1990/91)
At last a group stage appearance for the 1991 European Cup winners, who have survived four rounds of qualifying to get here. Last season’s top scorer Aleksandar Pešić is now in Saudi Arabia, among several summer departures, but in their place have come the likes of former Ajax man Lorenzo Ebecilio.
UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 123
How they qualified: Greek champions, play-off winners
Best European Cup performance: quarter-finals (1968/69)
Back in the group stage for the first time since 2006/07, AEK claimed a first Greek title in 24 years last term – just four seasons after competing in the third tier. Beat Celtic and Vidi in qualifying to ensure a good start for new boss Marinos Ouzounidis, formerly of Panathinaikos.