Champions League is being expanded and EPL teams have failed to take advantage

AP , Thursday 2 May 2024

The English Premier League has missed out on a bonus fifth Champions League place in next season's revamped and expanded competition.

Erik Ten Hag
Erik Ten Hag. Photo: AP


Borussia Dortmund's 1-0 win against Paris Saint-Germain in their semifinal first leg on Wednesday confirmed Germany would join Italy in being granted an extra berth.

The fifth spots were based on performances from each country this season in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League and averaged out by UEFA.

Aston Villa was England's only remaining team in Europe by advancing to the semifinals of the Conference League. But even if it goes on to win the competition, Villa cannot amass enough points for England to overtake Germany, which still has two teams in the Champions League and one in the Europa League.

Dortmund's win took Germany's average points total to 18.357. The most England could amass is 18.25.

It means three-time European Cup winner Manchester United will miss out on next season's Champions League, likely increasing the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.

Aston Villa and Tottenham — competing for fourth place in the Premier League — also know there will be no back door entry to the biggest stage in Europe.

UEFA’s ranking system gives points for each game a team wins or draws in European competition, with bonuses attached to advancing to different stages.

Since 2005, England would have qualified for a fifth place in the Champions League in 14 of 19 seasons. And despite having finalists in five of the past six editions, English teams' disappointing performances this season have wrecked their chances of an extra place.

Man United and Newcastle failed to advance from the group stage, and Manchester City's quarterfinal loss to Real Madrid was the defending champion's earliest exit from the competition in four years.

In the Europa League, Liverpool was surprisingly eliminated by Atalanta in the quarterfinals.

In contrast, German teams have excelled. Bayern Munich and Dortmund were through to the semifinals of the Champions League and Bayer Leverkusen into the semifinals of the Europa League.

Dortmund, fifth in the Bundesliga, guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League by beating PSG.

Roma is currently fifth in Italy.

The Champions League is expanding from 32 to 36 teams next season to allow for a new league phase that will replace the existing group stage.

Via a seeding system, teams will be drawn to play against eight opponents home and away in one league format.

The top eight teams will advance to the round of 16. Teams that finish from ninth to 24th will face a two-leg playoff in order to advance.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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