Newcastle successfully qualified for the Champions League on Monday night with a 0-0 draw against Leicester to end their 20-year exile from the competition.
Eddie Howe’s side have had a remarkable season, building on last year’s 11th place finish as they continue to go from strength-to-strength under their Saudi-backed ownership group.
The Magpies have played in Europe’s premier club competition on three previous occasions – 1997-98, 2002-03 and 2003-04 – but they have never got past the group stage, with their last foray in 2003-04 ending in the third qualifying round.
They will go straight into the group stage for next season but could face a nightmare schedule after the projected pots for 2023-24 were revealed.
Newcastle are expected to be placed in Pot Four – the bottom tier of teams – meaning they are likely to come up against some European heavyweights.
Newcastle qualified for the Champions League with a 0-0 draw against Leicester on Monday
They will return to Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 20 years next season
However, Eddie Howe’s side are expected to be placed in Pot Four for the group stage draw
With four teams in each group, there are four pots for teams to be selected from.
Pot One is made up of the league champions from the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Primeira Liga along with the Champions League and Europa League winners.
However, if Man City win the Champions League along with the Premier League, one of their places in Pot One will go to Dutch champions Feyenoord.
Pots Two, Three and Four are decided by UEFA club coefficient which is in relation to each side’s performance in Europe over the past five seasons.
Given Newcastle have been fighting relegation over the previous five years and haven’t competed in Europe, it is unsurprising they are expected to be put in the bottom pot.
This is a challenge that Man City faced originally after first qualifying for the competition in the early 2010s.
While several leagues across Europe still have plenty to decide Howe’s side are currently projected to be joined in Pot Four by FC Copenhagen, Young Boys, Real Sociedad, Galatasaray, Celtic, Newcastle, Union Berlin and RC Lens.
Pot Three is likely to be made up of Shakhtar Donetsk, RB Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Rangers, AC Milan, Braga, Lazio and Red Star Belgrade from Serbia.
This could mean they face heavyweights like 14-time European champions Real Madrid
A nightmare draw could see them face PSG, along with AC Milan in a potential group of death
If luck is on their side they could draw Feyenoord (left), Porto (right) and Red Star Belgrade
Pot Two is projected to consist of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, Porto and Arsenal, while Pot One could include Manchester City, Barcelona, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Benfica, Feyenoord and AS Roma or Sevilla – depending on the result of the Europa League final.
This means Newcastle may face a nightmare draw of PSG, Real Madrid and AC Milan if luck was to go against them.
However, alternatively the Magpies could also be lucky enough to receive a dream draw that consists of Feyenoord, Porto and Red Star Belgrade.
The group stage is set to get underway on September 19 2023, before the final takes place at Wembley Stadium on June 1 2024 and the excitement will only rise as European football gets set to return to St James’ Park.