UEFA Champions League Explained: How the Tournament Works - Deepstash
UEFA Champions League Explained: How the Tournament Works

UEFA Champions League Explained: How the Tournament Works

bleacherreport.com

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UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious soccer tournaments in all sport. It consists of 32 teams that compete in five rounds for the title of the best club in European soccer.

The first UEFA Champions League tournament was held during the 1955/56 season. Since then, it has been played annually.

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How the tournament changed since 1955

  • Until 1992, the tournament was known as the European Cup and had just 16 teams competing in four knockout rounds.
  • In 1960, the tournament expanded to 32 teams.
  • The 32 teams are split into eight groups of four. Each team plays the other three teams in their respective group in a double round-robin format.
  • The winner and runner-up of each group progress to the round of 16, where teams will continue the normal knockout stage process.

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How teams are selected

The number of teams each association enters into the UEFA Champions League is based on UEFA coefficients of the member associations.

  • The scores are made up from the results of clubs representing each association during the previous five EUFA Champions League and EUFA Europa League seasons.
  • The higher the association's coefficient, the more teams can represent the association.
  • Two qualification streams exist for teams that don't receive direct entry to the tournament: through a domestic league champion, and those who qualified by being 2nd through 4th in their domestic league.

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Once the 32 teams qualify

... the teams are split into four different "pots" based on the following principles.

  • Pot 1 contains the Champions League titleholders, the champions of the top six associations based on their EUFA coefficients.
  • Plot 2, 3 and 4 contain the rest of the teams, seeded based on their previous year's EUFA club coefficients.
  • Then a team is drawn from each pot until there are eight groups of four.

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How the group stage work

  • The 32 teams compete in a double round-robin format or group stage.
  • Group winners and runners-up advance to the round of 16, which is the first round of the knockout phase.
  • Teams are ordered by points: three points for a win, one point for a tie, and no points for a loss.
  • If tied on points, tie-breaking criteria apply.

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How the knockout phase work

Draw

A draw takes place for the round of 16. The remaining clubs are split into two pots of eight: One contains the winners of each respective group, the other the runners-up. A club is drawn from each pot to determine what the matchups would be.

Knockout-Phase Legs and Tiebreakers

Two teams are drawn together for each round. The teams play two matches, each squad playing one match at home. The group winners host the second leg in the round of 16.

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