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How the Champions League changes.

From the next edition farewell to groups and four more teams added.

How the Champions League changes. From the next edition farewell to groups and four more teams added.

This season we have witnessed the last clashes of the group stage of the Champions League, which from the next edition will radically change its structure and expand the number of teams involved from 32 to 36. All teams will participate in the League Phase, which replaces the Group Stage, in which all teams will be ranked together. Teams will no longer play twice against three opponents - at home and away - but will have to face eight different teams, playing half of the matches at home and half away. To determine the eight different opponents, teams will initially be ranked in four selection tiers. Each team will then be drawn to play two opponents from each of these tiers, playing one match against a team from each tier at home and one away.

The new League Phase

A new configuration designed to offer clubs the opportunity to compete against a wider range of opponents and to give fans more chances to see the best teams face each other more often and earlier in the competition. In addition, more competitive matches will be obtained for all clubs, but this will also increase the number of matches in a single season, a piece of news that will certainly not please the players. The top eight teams in this ranking will automatically qualify for the round of 16, while the teams ranked from 9th to 24th will compete in a two-legged play-off in the knockout phase to secure passage to the last 16 of the competition. Teams ranking 25th or below will be eliminated and will not have access to the UEFA Europa League.

In the knockout phase, the teams ranked from 9th to 16th will be included in the draw for the play-offs in the knockout phase, which means they will face a team ranked from 17th to 24th - with, in principle, the return match at home. The eight clubs that prevail in the play-offs in the knockout phase will advance to the round of 16, where they will each face one of the top eight teams, who will be seeded in the round of 16. In this case, the pairings will also be partly determined by the ranking of the League Phase, with a draw that will also determine and establish the path of the teams to reach the final. From the round of 16 onwards, the competition will continue to follow its current format of direct elimination rounds that will lead to the final at a neutral venue selected by UEFA.

The new slot based on UEFA ranking

The four slots will be added with the following parameters. The first slot will go to the team ranked third in the federation's championship in fifth place on the club coefficient ranking list determined by the UEFA coefficient for each country. The second will be awarded to the winner of a national championship, expanding from four to five the number of clubs qualifying through the Champions path composed of four qualifying rounds. The last two will instead be distributed to federations whose clubs obtained the best results in the previous season according to the UEFA coefficient. These two federations will be entitled to one place each in the championship round for the club ranked immediately after those entitled to automatic qualification to the championship round. An introduction that could work in favor of Italy, which currently has the highest coefficient this season above the Bundesliga and the Premier League.