The Champions League will have a completely new look next season — more teams and a brand new format.
A further four clubs will take part in the group stage, making 36 contenders, and Europe’s two best performing leagues this season will each receive an extra place for 2024-25.
What are the chances of getting one of those extra places in the English Premier League? And how will that affect the rest of the department?
We break down how the Champions League will work from 2024-25 and why it matters this season.
Pots set for 2023-24 Champions League group stage draw
The 2023–24 UCL group stage draw, the last of the old format, takes place on Thursday at 5 pm UK / midday ET.
Who gets the four extra UCL places?
2 places He will go to Europe’s best performance league this season. The place goes to the next team in the league who do not automatically qualify. It was the same last season Liverpool And atlanta. These are the places where clubs from the top leagues are most likely to move.
1 place A team that finishes third in the league will finish fifth in the UEFA coefficient (which is effectively the average performance of all clubs in Europe.) France last season, so marseille UCL will go straight to the group stage, with Stade Rennes Promoted from Europa League to UCL qualification. However, the Netherlands moved up to fifth place earlier this season ahead of France, so the Eredivisie could gain an extra spot for the 2024-25 domestic season.
1 place Will go on to qualify as champions. Four teams used to come through this route to the league stage, but from next season it will be five. The place cannot go to a team in the top 10 leagues because their champions did not qualify.
How many Premier League clubs will qualify for the Champions League?
As in recent seasons, the top four teams in England will automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage.
The same applies to Spain’s LaLiga, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A.
How can five teams qualify for the Champions League?
The best coefficient this season will earn an extra place in the UCL group stage of the two leagues next season.
England finish fifth in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League if they finish in the top two. Individual club coefficients are not relevant; Home goes to the next team in the table.
The good news for the Premier League is that it has finished in the top two in six of the last seven seasons.
2016-17: Spain and England
2017-18: England and Spain
2018-19: England and Spain
2019-20: Spain and Germany
2020-21: England and Spain
2021-22: England and the Netherlands
2022-23: England and Italy
In 2019–20, Germany finished second, just one win behind England.
So the Premier League nailed too many for five UCL places?
English clubs have been dominant and comfortably in the top two leagues for the past three seasons. It looks good, but there is a twist.
The Premier League will have eight clubs in Europe this season, as West Ham United won the UEFA Europa League and did not qualify for Europe domestically; This means that each win for an English club will be worth slightly less than the coefficient score because it is an average of eight clubs rather than seven.
The last time England had eight clubs in Europe, in 2015-16, it was only third in the season’s coefficient ranking — although Southampton and West Ham both failed to make it to the qualifying round.
This season, all eight teams will compete in the group stage of one of the three competitions, with Aston Villa effectively through to the Europa Conference League qualifiers with a 5-0 win at Hibernian in the first leg of the play-off round.
England’s place could be even stronger this week, as other leagues may not have their full complement of teams in the group stages. Since last week’s first leg, La Liga side Osasuna lost at home to Belgian Club Brugge, Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt drew with Bulgarian side Levski Sofia and Serie A’s Fiorentina was beaten at Rapid Vienna in Austria.
Only on two occasions in the past eight seasons has a league finished in the top two coefficient places without a team in the group stage — both times in the Premier League: 2018–19 (Burnley did not qualify), 2015–16 (West Ham did not qualify.)
All things considered, it would take a very bad season not to finish in the top five of the Premier League. Brighton & Hove Albion and Villa, along with Newcastle United who could be handed a tough Champions League group, will have to struggle badly to put England’s fifth place in serious doubt.
When will we find out who gets the extra space?
In many seasons this can be evident in March, once we know which leagues have teams through to the quarter-finals of the three European competitions.
However, the 2019-20 season shows that it could go right down to the wire. Germany did not finish second in the Premier League until Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the Champions League final. If it repeats itself this season, we won’t know which league will get the second extra spot until the UCL final on June 1.
This will leave the two clubs in the domestic league praying for the right result in the final. In 2019–20, Bayer Leverkusen and Leicester City finished fifth in Germany and England respectively. Bayern needed to win the UCL final to secure a place at Leverkusen, while Bayern needed to lose the Leicester match.
We could also hypothetically see a situation where, for example, Arsenal winning the Champions League could give fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur a place in the Champions League.
What about other European places in the Premier League?
Two Champions League places for performances this season are an additional place on top of those awarded by the associations right. There will be eight European teams in the Premier League.
The top five will go to UCL, with the FA Cup winners finishing sixth in the Europa League. The Carabao Cup winners will earn a place in the Conference League.
If the domestic cup winners qualify for Europe, places are transferred to the league; So it will be possible to get a place in Europe by finishing eighth in the league.
What is the maximum number of Premier League places UCL can have?
Under the old system, a maximum of five clubs from an association could play in the Champions League. This means that in the unlikely event that teams win the Champions League and Europa League in the same league, yet both domestically finish outside the UCL, then the fourth team must surrender their place and drop down to the UEL.
It is now possible that seven Premier League teams can earnings A place in UCL: Top five, and winners of UCL and UEL.
Technically there would be 11 Premier League teams in Europe: the normal allocation of seven, an additional Champions League place and three European competition champions (if they finish outside the European standings.).
UEFA is yet to decide on the maximum number for both. Sources told ESPN that a UEFA exco meeting in the first quarter of 2024 could finalize those numbers and, if there is a limit, how it would affect other clubs in that league.
What is going to be different in the Champions League?
From next season, 36 clubs will participate in the Champions League and all of them will be in a major league table. The old (current) format saw 32 clubs divided into eight groups of four teams each.
Champions League 2024-25: What it could look like, fixtures etc
There will still be a draw at the start of the season, but only to make league-level fixtures: eight games for each club, four at home and four away.
The 36 teams will be divided into four pots of nine. Pot 1 will feature the UCL and the eight club champions with the best odds. Top domestic league champions and UEL title holders will no longer be prioritized for Pot 1. Pots 2 to 4 are ordered by club merit.
Each club will be drawn to play two teams from each pot — one home, one away. So, unlike the current format, one club from Pot 1 will play a game against two other clubs from Pot 1.
As a general rule, clubs from the same association will not be drawn against each other. However, to avoid deadlocks, leagues of four or more clubs may play a match against another team from the same country.
From the final table, the top eight go directly to the Round of 16. Positions nine through 24 will enter the playoffs to earn the remaining eight spots in the Round of 16. Positions 25 to 36 are excluded from Europe. No country is saved in any of the knockout rounds.
Unlike previous seasons, there is no drop down of teams from the Champions League to the Europa League after the league stage. Once eliminated, your European season is over.
There will be only one knockout-round draw for the Round of 16, with teams seeded based on their final league-stage position and no country protection. This means where you finish in the table matters; The higher you are, the more favorable knockout routes you have — at least on paper.
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The Europa League and Conference League (it lost the “Europe” from its name the following season) will follow the same format, both expanding to 36 clubs.
Yes. A change is made called “rebalancing”, which happens if a UEL or UCL titleholder qualifies internally.
For example, last season Manchester City won the Champions League but finished in the top four in the Premier League — but the title holders did not need a reserved spot. That place was allocated to the next league in UEFA’s coefficient table, meaning Shakhtar Donetsk did not have to qualify.
But next season, rebalancing will be based on a club’s coefficient rather than the league.
Place of UCL title holder: The best individual club scores go from Path of Champions. That would have happened this season Dinamo Zagreb.
Place of UEL title holder at UCL: The best individual club coefficient from the Champion or Non-Champion route goes on. Dinamo Zagreb Still top, and with both title holders available, the advantage would have been next Rangers.
Place of UECL title holder in UEL: The best individual club qualifier goes to Qualifiers. This season, that will be the case Ajax Amsterdam.