Monday, May 20, 2024

Champions League 2024-25: Who has qualified, who is at risk of missing out and what to know

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The battle for the final additional UEFA Champions League berth is essentially Germany’s to lose after Italy secured the first and England suffered some major setbacks with Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham United all going out of Europe last week. The Bundesliga has two UCL semifinalists in Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as well as recently crowned Bayer Leverkusen flying the German flag in the UEFA Europa League. Regardless of that extra place, competition for the new format of the Champions League as it switches to the “Swiss” model was always going to be tight and there risks being some familiar faces missing out.

Premier League

The big names most at risk with a fifth UCL spot now highly unlikely are Tottenham Hotspur and UEFA Europa Conference League semifinalists Aston Villa. Unai Emery’s side are six points clear of Spurs even if they have played two games more and the Villans also possess a greater goal difference so the Birmingham giants are considered favorites to sneak it ahead of Ange Postecoglou’s men. With an extra UCL spot unlikely to reach the EPL, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Chelsea all reaching Europe is now impossible and even then it was unrealistic. West Ham United being out of UEL contention threatens United’s ability to benefit from an extra UCL place by stretching European spots down to seventh. Expect to see some high-profile names missing out on the Champions League from England.

La Liga

In Spain, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Club and Real Sociedad are all at risk of dropping out of UCL contention but it should be said that the Bilbao outfit were not expected to compete for it at the start of this season. The San Sebastian club already enjoyed a run to the round of 16 this year before exiting to PSG so the Basques would not necessarily view that as a failure. It would be pretty disastrous for Atleti though after an unexpected quarterfinals loss to Dortmund which could have set up a semifinal against PSG for Diego Simeone’s men.

Serie A

Italian soccer is already celebrating an extra Champions League spot for Serie A clubs next season as a reward for their outstanding collective displays on the continent and there are two UEL semifinalists in Roma and Atalanta as well as Fiorentina in the UECL who could potentially face EPL hopefuls Villa in the final which could see Viola grab promotion to Europe’s second-tier competition. A Giallorossi win in the Europa League would relieve their league-based worries as would Atalanta although both of those two cannot be winners so one could lose out. However, Lazio and Napoli are arguably in the weakest positions in terms of Champions League qualification as neither can fall back on their European exploits as both have already exited the UCL and there also needs to be Roma and Atalanta having played one game less into the equation.


Over in Germany, VfB Stuttgart, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are all vying for a Champions League spot but all three could be winners even if BVB lose out to PSG in the semifinals. Leverkusen winning the Europa League should be enough to secure the Bundesliga the second additional UCL berth which would then see SC Freiburg benefit behind Eintracht Frankfurt who are too far off to be in the UCL chat this time.

Ligue 1

With the unexpected name of Stade Brestois 29 currently in a Champions League spot, France and Ligue 1’s improved European showings will likely not be enough to win an extra slot but there is plenty at stake in the UCL race. Fresh out of the UECL at the hands of Villa’s Emiliano Martinez, Lille OSC are competing with OGC Nice and RC Lens to finish in qualification places while Stade Rennais, Olympique Lyonnais and Stade de Reims could all benefit from an extra European berth in the league secured if PSG win the Coupe de France. Les Parisiens are, of course, UCL semifinalists while Olympique de Marseille are UEL semifinalists and could earn an improbable Champions League ticket that way.

Here are the qualified teams from Europe’s top leagues:

Confirmed UCL spots

  • La Liga: Real Madrid.
  • Serie A: Inter (as champions).
  • Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen (as champions).
  • Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain (at least second place).

Confirmed UEL spots

  • EPL: Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City (all at least UEL).
  • La Liga: Barcelona and Athletic Club (both at least UEL).
  • Serie A: Milan (at least UEL).
  • Bundesliga: Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart and RB Leipzig (all at least UEL).

Confirmed UECL spots

  • EPL: Aston Villa (at least UECL).
  • La Liga: Girona (at least UECL).
  • Serie A: Juventus (at least UECL).
  • Ligue 1: AS Monaco (at least UECL).

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