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After a lengthy gap of over two months, sports finally took baby steps towards return but in empty stadiums, with fans only witnessing the contests virtually. However, whatever be the situation, sports behind closed doors is always a better feeling than no sports and now with the domestic seasons wrapped, football’s biggest competition – UEFA Champions League returns from where it was last stopped.

Yes the big guns of Europe are back and the action begins in less than a week, but unlike the previous editions, there have been slight changes in the format and today in this article we look at what are they:

Venue

With the world still jostling against the novel coronavirus, UEFA has decided to get rid of the home and away fixtures, to accommodate for the time lost. This time all the remaining fixtures will be played at two stadiums in Lisbon, Portugal.

However, the remaining round-of-16 matches will continue as decided earlier, with the home side hosting their opponent.

Format

This year the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be a one-off fixture and it is being played at a neutral venue.

Fixtures

The remaining round-of-16 matches will be played on August 8-9.

August 8: Juventus vs Lyon && Manchester City vs Real Madrid

August 9: Bayern Munich vs Chelsea && Barcelona vs Napoli

The quarter-finals will be played on August 13-16.

August 13: Atlanta vs PSG

August 14: RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

The fixtures for the August 15 and 16 will be decided on the results of the remaining round-of-16 clashes.

Both the semi-finals will be played on August 19 and the final will be played on August 24.

All the matches will be played at 00:30 hours as per IST.

Substitution rule

The teams can now make five substitutions in the match. However, the substitution will only be allowed at three points during the match. These three occasions do not include changes at half-time, between the end of normal playing time and extra time, and at half-time during extra time. One additional substitution will also be allowed during extra time.

The number of players will also increase from 18 to 23. Earlier this was allowed just for the finals.

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