The 2005–06 UEFA Champions League was the 51st season of UEFA's premier European club football tournament, the UEFA Champions League and the 14th since it was rebranded from the European Cup in 1992. 74 teams from 50 football associations took part, starting with the first qualifying round played on 12 July 2005.
Title-holders Liverpool, as well as 23 league champions from countries ranked 27 or lower on the 2004 UEFA ranking, were drawn against each other and played two matches, home and away, with the winners advancing to the second qualifying round. Though they finished fifth in the Premier League in 2004–05 (usually only four English teams are allowed in), Liverpool were granted a special exemption by UEFA as the holders, whereby they were placed into the first qualification round.
The 12 winners from the first qualifying round, 10 champions from countries ranked 17–26, and six second–placed teams from countries ranked 10–15 were drawn against each other and played two matches, home and away, with the winners advancing to the third qualifying round.
The 14 winners from the second qualifying round, six champions from countries ranked 11–16, three second–placed teams from countries ranked 7–9, six third–placed teams from countries ranked 1–6, and three fourth–placed teams from countries ranked 1–3 were drawn to play 2 matches, home and away, with the winners advancing to the group stage and losers advancing to the first round of the UEFA Cup.
Location of teams of the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League group stage. Brown: Group A; Red: Group B; Orange: Group C; Yellow: Group D; Green: Group E; Blue: Group F; Purple: Group G; Pink: Group H.
16 winners from the third qualifying round, 10 champions from countries ranked 1–10, and 6 second-placed teams from countries ranked 1–6 were drawn into 8 groups of 4 teams each. Normally two teams from the same association cannot be drawn in the same group. However, because of the abnormal qualification of Liverpool as title holders despite not having finished in the top four of the English league, Liverpool were not given "association protection" in the draw for the group stages. In the event they were drawn in the same group as Chelsea. The top 2 teams in each group advanced to the Champions League knock-out stage, while the third-placed teams advanced to the Round of 32 in the UEFA Cup.
Tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
Points earned in head-to-head matches between the tied teams.
Total goals scored in head-to-head matches between the tied teams.
Away goals scored in head-to-head matches between the tied teams.