The winner of the of the 68th UEFA Champions League Final will earn the right to automatic qualification for the following seasons tournament and will also have the opportunity to play in the UEFA Super Cup against the winner of the UEFA Europa League. Many teams have already qualified for the 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League season and here at mr.play are going to take a closer look at the teams that have qualified, the qualification process and the route to the final.
Qualifying for the UEFA Champions League
There are 55 European nations that form the membership of UEFA and 53 of these nation’s club teams will take part in the qualification towards the tournament. A country that will not participate this season is Russia, following a ban from the competition due to the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile Liechtenstein’s teams participate in the Swiss football league. From the 53 nations a total of 77 teams take part in the competition.
To select the teams for the competition, UEFA uses coefficients and weighted statistical analysis to determine the ranking and seeding of teams that in turn decides ‘Associations’ and how many teams from each country can participate. Generally speaking, the stronger the country is in terms of footballing ability, the more chances its teams have in qualifying. For example, four teams each from England, Spain, Germany and Italy (association 1 – 4) will qualify immediately for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, consisting of 32 teams. These are the top four teams from their respective top flight football leagues. Three teams qualify from France and Portugal (association 5 – 6) with the top two teams of their respective top flights qualifying for the group stage and third place entering the third qualifying round. Turkey falls within association 7 – 15 and with their league champions qualifying for the group stage and their league runner-up entering the third qualifying round. Hungary falls within association 16 – 55 and its league champions enters the first qualifying round.
Those teams that do not qualify automatically for the 32-team group stage will enter a qualification phase for the remaining six places. Those four countries ranked 52 – 55 contained within association 16 – 55 will play a one-legged semi-final and final in the preliminary round. Those four countries are Iceland, Estonia, San Marino and Andorra and their national league champions will play to win one available place in the first qualifying round. Icelandic team Vikingur Reykjavik and Estonian team FCI Levadia have qualified for this round to start 21 June 2022.
The winner of the preliminary round will join the league champions of those countries ranked 22 – 51 from the association 16 – 55 to play in the first qualifying round. The 30 teams are drawn with a seeded team playing an unseeded team to create fifteen two-legged knockout games commencing 5 July 2022. Well known teams entering this round include Hungarian team Ferencváros, Bulgarian team Ludogorets Razgrad, Malmö from Sweden and Polish team Lech Poznań. The Slovenian league champions has not yet been decided with either Maribor or Koper fighting to be league champions and earn their place in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round.
The 15 winners of the first qualifying round progress to the second qualifying round with a total of 24 teams. They will join the five league champions from association 16 – 55 that are ranked 17 – 21 with clubs from countries such as Czech Republic, Switzerland and Croatia. The remaining teams are the league runners-up from association 7 – 15 from the countries ranked 12 – 15 that include Ukraine and Denmark. This round commences 19th July 2022 with a seeded team drawn against an unseeded team to create ten champions path games and two league path games, played in a two-legged knockout format. Those teams that were champions from rankings of rankings 17-21 will play the 15 teams qualifying from the previous round. The four league runners-up from rankings 12 – 15 will be drawn to generate two two-legged matches. Famous teams steeped in European footballing history already entered for the second qualifying round include Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiacos and Dynamo Kyiv. Still to qualify are teams from the Turkish and Danish leagues that look most likely to be Fenerbahce from Turkey and Midtjylland from Denmark.
The third qualifying round follows a split champions path and league path with two-legged knockout games starting 2nd August 2022. Within the champions path, ten winners from the second qualifying round join two league winners of countries ranked 15 and 16, namely a team from Cyprus and Serbia. Six games will be played with a seeded team drawn against an unseeded team. In the league path the two winners from the second qualifying round league path will join four league runners-up from countries ranked 7 – 11 and two third place teams from rankings 5 and 6, namely France and Portugal. Already qualified are PSV Eindhoven, Benfica and Rangers. However, Rangers can still obtain qualification to the group stage if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final.
The champions path and league path will continue into the play-off round containing 12 teams. The two league champions of Turkey and Denmark will be joined by the six winners from the champions path of the third qualifying round. The league path is solely the four winners from the third qualifying round league path. Games are scheduled to take place from 16th August 2022 with Turkish champions Trabzonspor already qualified to compete. The Danish champions are yet to be decided and Copenhagen. Six teams will win their place in the coveted group stage of 32 teams and have the chance to play against the most famous European club football teams.
Automatic qualification to the group stage comes from four 3rd and 4th league placed teams from country rankings 1 – 4 and six league runners-up form country rankings 1 - 6. The league champions from country rankings 1 – 11 also join the group stage plus the winner of the Europa league final. Teams are seeded and eight groups of four teams will be drawn with each team playing each other home and away in a league format. With the group stage set to commence 6th September 2022 footballing giants such as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Ajax have already qualified. There are still some unconfirmed places to be filled including second place in French Ligue 1 that is a three-way battel between Monaco, Marseille and Rennes. In the English Premier League fourth place is still open and that is being contested between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
The group stage will then set up the final knockout rounds with the winner and runner-up of each group progressing. The final knockout rounds of fixtures are set as follows:
Round of 16: 14th February – 15th March 2023 (Two-legs home and away)
Quarter-finals: 11th April – 19th April 2023 (Two-legs home and away)
Semi-finals: 9th May – 17th May (Two-legs home and away)
Final: 10th June 2023
With 165 football games to be played to find out which club will be crowned the UEFA Champions League winners, there will be plenty of exciting opportunities to place a bet here at mr.play.
We hope we have enlightened you with our overview of the qualification process leading up to the 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League. When you are thinking of making a bet on the UEFA Champions League, make sure you stick within your financial limits and do not overspend. If you are worried about your gambling habits then you can visit gambleaware.co.uk for free help and advice.