Tottenham secured top four spot on the last day of the season

4 clubs making a return to the UEFA Champions League next season 

Xavier Okere
ANALYST

The UEFA Champions League is Europe's most elite club competition and that's why the biggest clubs in Europe strive to make an appearance in the competition.

The 2021-22 football season has just come to an end in most of the top leagues in Europe. This means that in leagues with automatic qualification spots, some clubs have already booked their spot in next season's Champions League.

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Without further ado, let's take a look at the five clubs who will be making a return to Europe's elite competition in the 2022-23 campaign after missing out on the previous seasons.

Only Europe's top five leagues have been considered


#4 Bayer Leverkusen

TSG Hoffenheim v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga
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Bayer Leverkusen secured automatic qualification from the German Bundesliga. Die Werkself finished third in the league table ahead of RB Leipzig. Gerardo Seoane's side finished the season with 64 points (19 wins, seven draws and eight losses).

Leverkusen's last appearance in the Champions League was three seasons ago. They failed to make it past the group stage of the 2019/20 season, finishing third in a group consisting of Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Patrick Schick was the club's best player in the just-concluded season. The Czech international registered 24 goals across competitions and was instrumental in helping them make the cut for Europe's premier club tournament.


#3 Olympique Marseille (1993 Champions League Winners)

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Feyenoord v Olympique Marseille: Semi Final Leg One - UEFA Europa Conference League

Marseille sealed a Champions League spot on the final day of the season thanks to Monaco dropping points. Monegasques faltered and conceded a late goal in their 2-2 draw against Lens.

Led by captain Dimitri Payet, they finished in second place, 15 points behind league winner Paris Saint-Germain and two points above Monaco. They also made it to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League this season, losing 3-2 on aggregate to Feyenoord.

Marseille qualify for next season's Champions League group stage after Lens scored a 96th minute equalizer against Monaco.

Monaco will now be in the third qualifying round for the UCL

The Ligue 1 giants' last appearance in Europe's elite competition was in 2020/21 when they crashed out in the group stage. Marseille remain the only French club to have won the Champions League, a feat they achieved in 1993.

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#2 Napoli

SSC Napoli v Genoa CFC - Serie A

Another team who will be making a return to the Champions League is Napoli. Napoli last played in the tournament in the 2019-20 season. They crashed out in the round of 16 after a 4-2 aggregate loss to Barcelona.

Luciano Spalletti's side finished third in Serie A, behind Inter Milan and AC Milan, accumulating 79 points from 38 matches. Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen finished as the club's highest goalscorer, scoring 14 goals in 27 league appearances.

The Naples-based club will play in Europe next season without club legend Lorenzo Insigne. The 30-year-old will leave the club this summer to join MLS outfit Toronto FC.


#1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley - Premier League
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Tottenham Hotspur will play in the Champions League next season thanks to Arsenal's complacency.

The Gunners were four points above the Lilywhites before the north London Derby on May 12, with three matches left in the season. However, they slipped, losing to Tottenham and Newcastle United on the trot.

This gave Antonio Conte's team an advantage and they held on to it to secure the fourth spot. Tottenham last featured in the Champions League two seasons ago, losing out to RB Leipzig in the round of 16.

Great scenes in the @SpursOfficial dressing room after a season which saw the club secure Champions League football and a golden boot for Heung-min Son

Proud of everyone associated with this great club

Under Conte, they have looked rejuvenated. Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane scored a combined 51 goals in the just-concluded campaign. They will look to end their infamous silverware drought next season.


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Edited by Puranjay Dixit
 
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