Why Bayer Leverkusen may not get top seed in Champions League

Bayer Leverkusen secured their first ever Bundesliga title on Sunday, dismantling Werder Bremen 5-0 to end Bayern Munich’s 11-year dominance. But their German championship doesn’t necessarily guarantee them a place in pot one for next season’s Champions League.

That’s because the new Champions League format comes into play. Unlike in previous campaigns where winning a top European league, a Champions League or Europa League would guarantee a place in the first pot, this is no longer the case.

Now, only the defending Champions League winners are guaranteed a place in pot one of the Champions League’s new 36 team format. The remaining 35 participants are distributed among the four pots, dependent on their UEFA coefficient and how well they’ve performed in Europe across the last five seasons. This means that although Bundesliga champions, even a Europa League triumph this season won’t earn them an automatic place in pot one.

Currently 14th in the UEFA coefficients, Bayer can still climb if they win games in the Europa League this year. They go into their game against West Ham on Thursday with a 2-0 lead. Win that, and they’ll be three games away from a Europa League title. Above Leverkusen in the coefficients is Manchester United and Chelsea, and they’re not guaranteed Champions League football last season. But even without the Premier League duo, it will be difficult for Bayer to make it into pot one.

Bayern Munich on the other hand, despite not winning the Bundesliga, will find themselves in pot one, as would RB Leipzig should they qualify ahead of Borussia Dortmund. If BVB qualify ahead of Leipzig, they’ll likely be in pot two, given their recent performances in Europe, while Stuttgart will go into the fourth pot.

GGFN | Daniel Pinder

Get Football+

More European Football News