The season is only just over but we already have a clear picture of who will be in the Champions League group stages for next season.
It wasn’t the finale we were hoping for, but last Saturday did at least provide worthy winners of this year’s Champions League. Liverpool defeated Spurs 2-0 in Madrid in an underwhelming contest to take home their sixth win in the history of the competition. The means to the end will not matter to the Reds though, who are celebrating their first trophy success in seven years and their first European Cup since 2005.
For every other major power in European football though, sights are already fixed on next year’s edition. Real Madrid will be desperate to reclaim their throne having won it four of the last six years, while Barcelona will be out to avenge their devastating defeat at Anfield in this season’s semi-final. Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will no doubt be in contention too when it comes to the latter stages.
All of these teams have already secured qualification to the group stages of the Champions League in 2019/20, as have a number of other teams through their respective domestic leagues. 26 clubs are in, with the final six places to be decided through qualifiers later this summer.
Uefa rules that came into effect last season mean that the four countries (England, Germany, Italy and Spain) with the highest coefficient rating receive four automatic places in the group stages. Under the old rules the fourth placed team in the Premier League, for instance, would have to go through a qualifier round in order to progress.
There are also guaranteed spots for the winners of the Champions League and Europa League, as well as the champions in France, Russia, Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey.
Which teams are in next season’s Champions League group stages?
Spain: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia
England: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur
Italy: Juventus, Napoli, Atalanta, Internazionale Milano
Germany: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen
France: Paris Saint-Germain, Lille, Lyon
Russia: Zenit St.Petersburg, Lokomotiv Moscow
Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk
Austria: FC Salzburg
Thanks to Liverpool winning the Champions League, Red Bull Salzburg also qualify automatically, as the Merseyside outfit had already qualified by finishing second in the English top flight. Olympique Lyonnais benefitted too due to Chelsea winning the Europa League at the expense of Arsenal.
With over 80%of the spots already accounted for in 2019/20, some strong sides might miss out on the competition next season. Celtic, for example, will have to tackle four qualifying rounds if they are to reach the group stages.
Despite the incredible year they have just had, Ajax will have to enter the tournament at the third qualifying round, while big names such as Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen and FC Porto will have to contend with the preliminary round too.
The seeded teams in Pot One, the “champions pot” for the group stage draw will be as follows: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Zenit St Petersburg.
Pot Two will consist of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool or Tottenham, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk, and possibly Porto and Ajax if they qualify, meaning we are guaranteed to have some tasty groupings.
During his appearance on our Podcast this week, we asked Chris Waddle who was the most over rated player you played against?
We all nearly fell off our chairs when he gave his answer… ? pic.twitter.com/nWEkCacpCS
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) May 10, 2019