The UEFA Champions League is the second biggest football tournament available in the world of football. The UEFA Champions League is second to only the World Cup in terms of grandeur and importance. Even though it is played annually, it has not waned in importance. The UEFA Champions League has become a tournament that the big teams and players don’t want to miss out on, even for just a year. Only the best thirty-two teams across Europe play in the UEFA Champions League. In the top five leagues, the four highest-ranked teams make it into the champions league to make up twenty of the 32 teams. The top five leagues are the Leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. The previous winner of the Champions League is given a slot to the next tournament. So also is the winner of the UEFA Europa League. This means that 22 slots have all been filled up by teams that qualified automatically. The remaining ten slots are filled by teams from the two qualifying streams (five teams each from the two) this brings the number of teams for the tournament to 32. One of the two qualifying streams called the champions stream comprises of teams who won their respective leagues. Teams who lose out on Champions League qualification from this stream get a slot in the UEFA second-tier competition, The UEFA Europa League.
What Happens Next After Getting The Thirty-two Teams?
After the thirty-two teams to play in that particular championship have been determined, the Champions League draw is done. In the draws, teams are assigned to four different ports of 8 teams. The strongest teams occupy port 1. Teams are drawn from each of the four ports to form a group of four teams. Teams from the same country won’t be drawn into the same group. After the draws, the group stage kicks off.
- The Group Stage: The first stage of the Champions league comprises of thirty-two teams drawn into eight groups of four teams each. Each team in a group will place against the other teams in the same group over two leagues, and the points are accumulated. The two top clubs from each group qualify for the round of sixteen. The third-placed teams in each of the UEFA Champions League groups will drop to the Europa League while the bottom eight teams will be eliminated.
- The Round of Sixteen: The sixteen team to scale the group stage will be drawn to face each other in this round. They will play against each other over two legs with away goal rule used to break ties. If ties cannot be broken using Away goal rule, then Extra time and penalty shootout will suffice. In this round, teams from the same country still cannot meet.
- Quarter-Finals: The Quarter Final Stage of the UEFA Champions League is just like the round of sixteen stage only that teams from the same countries can now go head to head.
- Semi-Finals and Finals: The semi-final stage is just like the quarter-final stage only that consists of only two matches and four teams.
The final is played by the winners of the two semi-final ties in a single match in a venue decided before the start of the tournament.
There are four major routes through which a team can secure UEFA Champions League Qualification. The League route, The Europa League route, the Champions League route and the Champions League Qualifying route. They have been explained in detail in this article.