Thursday, August 16, 2018

Playoff Teams Competing For Chance to be Beat Bad in Group Stage

Every time this time of year, I shrug my shoulders of what potential FIFA and the UEFA Champions League has. 54 different leagues qualify for the prestigious European Club competition. That's a total of 78 teams fighting it out for one holy grail trophy at the end of May.

Yet, we seem to be having the same six teams in the Quarter Finals every year. If anything, the FIFA World Cup this summer proved that most countries develop high end talent in  some form of another. France defeated Croatia in the final would have been the equivalent of PSG dismantling Dinamo Zagreb.

For those of us that follow soccer, that Champions League Final would be so far fetched to even think of the probability of it coming to fruition.

This is because money has taken over in European soccer and the powerhouse teams in smaller countries haven't kept up.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
League Path
Benfica Portugal 1 Greece PAOK 21 Aug 29 Aug
Ajax Netherlands 2 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv 22 Aug 28 Aug
Champions Path
Red Star Belgrade Serbia 1 Austria Red Bull Salzburg 21 Aug 29 Aug
BATE Borisov Belarus 2 Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 21 Aug 29 Aug
Young Boys Switzerland 3 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb 22 Aug 28 Aug
MOL Vidi Hungary 4 Greece AEK Athens 22 Aug 28 Aug 

The renaming 12 teams are fighting it out for the last 6 spots. UEFA revamped the whole qualifying process so that this last playoff stage is as competitive as possible. I think it's just fools gold however as the gap is still there. FIFA just found a way to avoid it.

In the Club coefficient rankings, the only way for a country outside of the Top 15 in the rankings to have a long run in the European Cups is in the Europa League.

Out of the 12 teams competing for the renaming six spots, most likely none of them will get to the round of 16.

In fact, any team outside of the Top 8 likely won't advance either. If they do, they are just going to get annihilated in the next round. That's why they created the Champions Path in the Europa League to put more emphasis on winning your league.

Here are the coefficient standings:

Rank Association Coeff. Teams
1 Spain Spain 104.998 4
2 Germany Germany 79.498
3 England England 75.962
4 Italy Italy 73.332
5 France France 56.665 3
6 Russia Russia 50.532
7 Portugal Portugal 49.332 2
8 Ukraine Ukraine 42.633
9 Belgium Belgium 42.400
10 Turkey Turkey 39.200
11 Czech Republic Czech Republic 33.175
12 Switzerland Switzerland 32.075
13 Netherlands Netherlands 31.063
14 Greece Greece 27.900
15 Austria Austria 25.350
16 Croatia Croatia 25.250 1
17 Romania Romania 24.350
18 Denmark Denmark 24.000
19 Belarus Belarus 19.875
Rank Association Coeff. Teams
20 Poland Poland 19.750 1
21 Sweden Sweden 19.725
22 Israel Israel 19.375
23 Scotland Scotland 18.925
24 Cyprus Cyprus 18.550
25 Norway Norway 18.325
26 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 17.750
27 Bulgaria Bulgaria 15.875
28 Serbia Serbia 15.375
29 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 15.250
30 Slovenia Slovenia 13.125
31 Slovakia Slovakia 11.750
32 Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 11.000 0
33 Hungary Hungary 9.500 1
34 Moldova Moldova 9.500
35 Iceland Iceland 8.375
36 Finland Finland 7.650
37 Albania Albania 6.625
Rank Association Coeff. Teams
38 Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland 6.575 1
39 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 6.500
40 Georgia (country) Georgia 6.375
41 Latvia Latvia 6.125
42 Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 5.625
43 Estonia Estonia 5.250
44 Montenegro Montenegro 5.250
45 Armenia Armenia 5.125
46 Luxembourg Luxembourg 4.875
47 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 4.500
48 Lithuania Lithuania 4.125
49 Malta Malta 4.000
50 Wales Wales 3.875
51 Faroe Islands Faroe Islands 3.500
52 Gibraltar Gibraltar 2.500
53 Andorra Andorra 1.165
54 San Marino San Marino 0.333
55 Kosovo Kosovo 0.000

 So basically, any league after the Greek League has no chance in the Group stage of the UCL. That's a problem because there are 32 teams in the group stage.

Any hypothetical merger between the other Champions League competitions is a bit far fetched because of the amount of time that would be spent on a airplane to give these other teams a shot at glory.

I bring this up because creating a promotion/relegation format through the 6 Champions League tournaments is the only thing I can think of right now.

That and hope the other clubs start spending money like the big giants or else this problem will just keep on getting worse.

 Some teams knockout stage droughts put some North American Title droughts in perspective.