The Champions League is the quintessential football tournament of the old continent as well as the world. It is a vibrant competition that brings together the best teams in Europe, which each year will fight for the maximum continental trophy that also grants a direct ticket to the FIFA’s Club World Cup.
Almost everyone is familiar at this point with the the group stage format which starts on September the 12, where big teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus and other teams make their appearances. But the truth is that the Champions League has already started. In fact it began on 27 June with the qualifying phase that will complete the remaining quotas for the group stage.
The qualifying phase is not as simple as one might think. In the UEFA Champions League nearly 78 or 79 teams from all federations in Europe participate and in order to choose the best 32, they use a coefficient that determines the amount of places that correspond to each country. In short, the coefficient is based on results and team performances in previous editions.
Countries with lower coefficients face each other in the qualifying phase, which is divided into three rounds as the winning teams will advance to reach a fourth Playoffs round. The 2017/18 edition of the Champions League is currently in the third qualifying round and teams like Ajax, CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos are already among the best 13 teams will play for a spot in the playoffs.
The Dutch team comes from losing in the final of the Europa League latest edition against Manchester United coached by Mourinho. In the end, they lost the chance to qualify directly to the group stage of Champions League and that why they have to go out and win every game to make it to that stage. Not forget that Ajax is one of the historic Champions teams, as it managed to become champion in 4 opportunities.
Among the other teams contesting in the third phase are the Copenhagen Denmark, Nice from France, Austria’s Salzburg and Apoel of Cyprus, that in recent editions of the tournament made good performances reaching at least to the group stage.
The format of the Champions is intended and designed to obtain a the highest level of football possible. All participating teams are mainly champions of their league or are second or third place. Competitiveness is guaranteed as each team will leave everything behind to make it to the final that this year will be waiting in the city of Kiev, Ukraine.
Prepare yourself a good beer, a good tasty snack and set the TV to watch the world’s best players in a high level league as the Champions League. Or, make it better: go to your trusted Sports bar to enjoy the best plays, goals and assists of the world.
With collaboration of Blas Isaguirre, @paginaenblanco