Champions League is one of the most coveted and followed tournaments in football history. It has a huge fan following for the store reason that some of the best clubs across the world compete for the much admired trophy. The likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Hazard and many more play under the same roof and it is very exciting to watch them in action. Some of the top most teams play in the tournament. Teams of the caliber of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint- Germain Barrie it out to win the trophy and prove that they are the best club in the world. The Champions League was earlier known as the European Cup.
However, not all clubs get the chance to participate in this championship. They have to prove that they are eligible to play through hardly fought qualification rounds.The UEFA Champions League begins with a double round-robin group stage of 32 teams, which is preceded by two qualification 'streams' for teams that do not receive direct entry to the tournament proper. The two streams are divided between teams qualified by virtue of being league champions, and those qualified by virtue of finishing 2nd–4th in their national championship.
The number of teams that each association enters into the UEFA Champions League is based upon the UEFA coefficients of the member associations. These coefficients are generated by the results of clubs representing each association during the previous five Champions League and UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup seasons. The higher an association's coefficient, the more teams represent the association in the Champions League, and the fewer qualification rounds the association's teams must compete in.
Four of the remaining six qualifying places are granted to the winners of a six-round qualifying tournament between the remaining 43 or 44 national champions, within which those champions from associations with higher coefficients receive byes to later rounds. The other two are granted to the winners of a three-round qualifying tournament between the 11 clubs from the associations ranked 5 through 15, which have qualified based upon finishing second, or third in their respective national league.
In addition to sporting criteria, any club must be licensed by its national association to participate in the Champions League. To obtain a license, the club must meet certain stadium, infrastructure, and finance requirements. Almost all the top teams in the world have already met the criteria and therefore play in this coveted tournament. Most of the teams qualify directly because of their supreme performances in their respective domestic leagues, for examples Barcelona through La Liga, Bayern Munich through Bundesliga, etc.
Now onwards, key change have been made in the qualifying stages.
- There will now be 26 teams automatically qualified as per the access list drawn up from the UEFA association coefficients at the end of 2016/17.
- Every team eliminated in UEFA Champions League qualifying will get a second chance in the UEFA Europa League.
- There will be a preliminary round in qualifying for the UEFA Champions League (played as a knockout mini-tournament) and UEFA Europa League (played as two-legged ties).
The most successful club on this tournament’s history has been the legendary Spanish club Real Madrid. They have won the title a record 13 times, including the first five seasons. They are also have the record for qualifying the most number of times and along with advancing past the group stage the most number of times. They are currently the defending champions. However, they lost this champions league in the round of 16 itself.
Frequently asked question:
1) Can 6 teams qualify for Champions League?
No. It is not possible for 6 teams from the same league playing in the UCL to qualify.