The battle for extra Champions League places: Germany, Italy clinch spots (2024)

Two leagues have been rewarded with an extra place in next season's Champions League based on performance in Europe this season, all part of the revamp to expand it to a 36-team competition -- and this is how it all played out.

Even though the knockout stages of the Champions League (UCL), Europa League (UEL) and Europa Conference League (UECL) are only at the semifinal stage, we already know which leagues will receive the extra places.

How does it work?

It's about the best average coefficient of all teams taking part in Europe for each country. The two leagues with the best score get an extra place.

Each win is worth two coefficient points, a draw gets you one, and you get nothing for a defeat.

If a match goes to extra time, the score after 120 minutes is used. Penalties are not taken into account if the game is drawn, as they are used to determine the tie rather than the individual match.

There are also bonus points for getting to certain stages, which help give extra prominence to those teams who do well in the higher-profile competitions.

Champions League bonus points
4 - Group stage participation
5 - Round of 16
1 - QF, SF, final

Europa League bonus points
4 - Group winners
2 - Group runners-up
1 - Round of 16, QF, SF, final

Europa Conference League bonus points
2 - Group winners
1 - Group runners-up
1 - SF, final

The points gained by all clubs are added together, and that total score is divided by the number of clubs a country has in Europe in the season. That gives the coefficient average.

For example, if a country has 35 coefficient points and seven teams in Europe, its score is 5.00 for the table (35 / 7 = 5.00.)

This scoring system is changing for next season.

So wins aren't worth more in the Champions League?

No, the coefficient system is designed to assess the overall strength of leagues. Wins are the same in all competitions, otherwise it would be impossible for those leagues with few or no teams in the UCL group stage to move up the coefficient ranking.

The bonus points serve two purposes: firstly, to give weight to the strength of the competitions on a sliding scale, and second to provide points to those teams taking part in the UCL who might get few positive results.

In fact, it's better for leagues to have some teams drop down into the UEL for the knockout rounds. Bonus points might be lower in the UEL, but each two-legged tie has five points up for grabs (four for the result and one for progressing to the next round). If a team stays in the UCL, they might not get past the round of 16 and have little chance of adding to the country's coefficient through wins.

Won't this just turn out to be extra places for two top leagues?

If we look back at the previous five seasons, England and Spain take seven of the 10 slots, with Italy and Germany one each. Only in 2021-22 did one of the countries with fewer than four teams in the Champions League (the Netherlands) finish in the top two of average coefficient.

So yes, history tells us that it's highly likely two of the top leagues will have five places in the Champions League.

2022-23: England and Italy
2021-22: England and the Netherlands
2020-21: England and Spain
2019-20: Spain and Germany
2018-19: England and Spain

How does the coefficient table look this season?

This is the top 10 as of May 9.

1. ITALY, 20.714
2. GERMANY, 19.357

3. England, 17.375
4. France, 16.250
5. Spain, 15.812
6. Belgium, 14.400
7. Czechia, 13.500
8. Turkey, 12.000
9. Portugal, 11.000
10. Greece, 11.000

Borussia Dortmund's victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the UCL semifinal meant Germany were in an unassailable position in second and will get an extra place.

Italy had already sealed one of the places last month.

When do we usually find out who gets the extra places?

In many seasons it may be obvious in March, once we know which leagues have teams through to the quarterfinals of the three European competitions. It's been closer this time, but terrible results for English clubs in the quarterfinals, losing four of its five remaining teams, effectively handed second place to Germany.

However, the 2019-20 season shows that it can go right down to the wire. Germany didn't overtake the Premier League for second place until Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final of the Champions League. If that's repeated this season, we wouldn't know which league gets the second additional spot until the UCL final takes place June 1.

It would leave two clubs in the domestic leagues praying for the right result in the final. In 2019-20, Bayer Leverkusen and Leicester City finished fifth in Germany and England respectively. Leverkusen would have needed Bayern to win the UCL final to get the place, while Leicester required Bayern to lose the match.

What's the maximum number of places in the UCL and in Europe?

Under the old system, a maximum of five clubs from one association could play in the Champions League. It meant that in the unlikely event teams from the same league won the Champions League and Europa League, yet both finished outside the UCL places domestically, then fourth would have to surrender their place and drop into the UEL.

But from 2024-25 the cap has been removed and it will be possible for seven teams to get a place in the UCL: The top four, fifth through league performance in Europe, and the winners of the UCL and the UEL.

It would also technically be possible to have 11 teams in Europe: The usual allocation of seven, plus the extra Champions League place and the titleholders of all three European competitions (they would all have to finish outside a European position in the league.)

Who gets the extra place?

If we assume the extra spots will go to one of the top leagues, it means fifth place will enter the Champions League and it will have eight (rather than seven) places in Europe. Other European berths drop down a place.

Any season the Premier League gets it, the access will be:

Champions League: 1-5
Europa League: 6, FA Cup winners
Europa Conference League: Carabao Cup winners

If LaLiga, the Bundesliga or Serie A get it, the access will be:

Champions League: 1-5
Europa League: 6, Cup winners
Europa Conference League: 7

In all cases if a team wins the domestic cup and finishing in a European place in the league, the spots drop down one.

If a team wins the UEL or UCL but doesn't qualify for the UCL domestically, that league would have six places in the UCL -- the five places to the leagues plus the UEL or UCL titleholders as an additional. The league would forfeit the domestic place earned by the titleholders.

It can happen with Borussia Dortmund this season in Germany, as they are likely to finish fifth. If Dortmund win the Champions League, Germany would have six teams (the top six) in the UCL but only one in the UEL -- losing the spot earned by Dortmund.

Which teams would benefit right now?

Right now, Borussia Dortmund are fifth in the Bundesliga, with Roma holding that spot in Serie A.

The battle for extra Champions League places: Germany, Italy clinch spots (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duane Harber

Last Updated:

Views: 5700

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duane Harber

Birthday: 1999-10-17

Address: Apt. 404 9899 Magnolia Roads, Port Royceville, ID 78186

Phone: +186911129794335

Job: Human Hospitality Planner

Hobby: Listening to music, Orienteering, Knapping, Dance, Mountain biking, Fishing, Pottery

Introduction: My name is Duane Harber, I am a modern, clever, handsome, fair, agreeable, inexpensive, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.