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Can England leapfrog Germany to fifth Champions League qualifying spot?

Published: Updated: 17:21, 21 Mar 2024
A three-horse race has ensued over which league will see an extra team enter the new revamped UCL next season

Europe's top leagues are in fierce competition for extra spots in next year's new UEFA Champions League format. The battle has realistically focused on England, Italy, and Germany as they chase that coveted fifth spot. As Freiburg dropped out of the Europa League and five Premier League teams marched into the last eight of European competition during the last game week, even the most ardent online sportsbooks in Germany are struggling to retain hope that they can hold off the English onslaught.

The stakes have been raised significantly this year due to incoming changes to the Champions League from next season. These changes have sparked two coefficient battles that will determine how many teams from different leagues will qualify for the next campaign's competitions.

Primarily, Italy, Germany and England are embroiled in a battle for a fifth UCL spot via their respective leagues. As part of an expansion to a 36-club competition, two of Europe's domestic leagues will receive additional Champions League places.

Four more clubs than currently allowed will qualify with two of those four spots awarded to the domestic leagues performing best across Europe this season.

The UEFA coefficient ranking explained

UEFA’s coefficient ranking system measures each domestic league’s strength through its collective continental performances. Each win is worth two coefficient points while one point is awarded for a draw and zero for a loss. Each country is judged based on its competing sides' average coefficient.

Bonus points also exist which provide an extra boost - especially in the Champions League - on top of points gained by all clubs which get added together and then divided by the number of participating clubs creating the coefficient average.

Wins count equally across all competitions because it would be impossible for leagues without Champions League group stage representatives to advance up in the ranking system.

Currently, Italy occupies first place among bonus spots followed closely by Germany with England trailing narrowly behind them.

West Ham has bolstered the Premier League's coefficient ranking while simultaneously weakening the Bundesliga's standing. According to Opta, England now has a 70% chance of securing an extra spot.

Who is in pole position to get the fifth UCL spot?

England boasts five teams still in contention in Europe. Manchester City and Arsenal have already secured their places in the Champions League quarter-finals, while Liverpool and West Ham have progressed in the Europa League. Aston Villa is also advancing to the last eight of the Europa Conference League.

Germany, although marginally ahead in coefficient rankings, only has three teams remaining after Freiburg's elimination by West Ham - Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League along with Champions League quarter-finalists Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Italy still has four teams standing strong with Atalanta, AC Milan and Roma all through to the Europa League last eight and Fiorentina continuing its impressive run in the Europa Conference League.

One time for both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will be huge in this battle between England and Germany, assuming as many do that Italy will take top spot in the coefficient. Arsenal's meeting with German giants Bayern Munich in the UCL and West Ham's clash with Bundesliga runaway leaders Bayer Leverkusen will prove crucial in which league gets that fifth spot.

All will become much clearer after the first legs of those quarter-finals in April.

As we approach closer to next season's revamped UEFA Champions League format, it remains exciting to see which domestic leagues will secure additional spots for their clubs.

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