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Women’s Champions League – How the competition works

By Andrew Crawshaw

I was intending to do a scouting report on PSV Eindhoven, our opponents on Saturday, but the stream of their match wasn’t licensed to be shown in the UK (or that was the message I repeatedly got).  What I thought I would do instead is clear up some questions I had regarding the competition itself.

The competition is not a straightforward knockout as you would suppose a cup competition to be.  That would have been too simple!

The competition really gets going in the group stage but that is a way off at the moment.

The entry into the competition depends on the number of Coefficient points each UEFA member association has earned over the previous five years.  The top six associations can enter their teams finishing in the top three league positions, The next 10 can enter two and the remaining associations just one.

The points are earned according to the results of each team in the competition.  Basically the more games you win the more points you get and the points for a win increase with each round.  The explanation page on the official UEFA.com website doesn’t agree with the way the tables below (also from the UEFA website) have been calculated so I can’t give you a better explanation.

Pos Country 16/17 17/18 18/19 19/20 20/21 Total
1 France 20.0 17.5 19.5 20.0 15.0 92.0
2 Germany 14.5 13.0 15.0 16.5 16.5 75.5
3 England 11.5 17.5 10.5 11.5 17.5 68.5
4 Spain 11.5 8.0 14.0 15.0 15.5 64.0
5 Sweden 10.0 10.0 8.5 4.5 7.5 40.5
6 Czech Republic 5.0 11.0 8.0 5.5 7.0 36.5
7 Denmark 9.5 4.0 5.5 8.5 7.0 34.5
8 Netherlands 8.0 5.0 8.0 6.0 3.0 30.0
9 Kazakhstan 7.0 6.0 5.0 7.0 3.5 28.5
10 Italy 5.0 7.0 6.0 3.0 5.0 26.0
11 Iceland 4.0 8.0 3.0 8.0 2.0 25.0

So surprisingly, Kazakhstan are above Italy, as are Denmark, and the Netherlands.

The leading clubs are shown in this table and, I have also added the other three members of our round 1 group for comparison.

Club 16/17 17/18 18/19 19/20 20/21 Club Points 20% Association Points Total Coefficient
1 Olympique Lyonais 20.0 24.0 24.0 23.0 15.0 106.0 18.4 124.4
2 Barcelona 18.0 13.0 21.0 18.0 22.0 92.0 12.8 104.8
3 VFL Wolfsburg 14.0 14.0 21.0 13.0 21.0 13.0 15.1 28.1
4 Paris SG 20.0 15.0 17.0 15.0 67.0 18.4 85.4
5 Bayern Munich 15.0 15.0 5.0 17.0 12.0 20.0 15.0 35.0
6 Man City 19.0 19.0 4.0 9.0 15.0 66.0 1.0 67.0
7 Chelsea 4.0 16.0 17.0 20.0 57.0 13.7 70.7
22 Arsenal 14.0 14.0 13.7 27.7
53 PSV Eindhoven 3.0 3.0 6.0 6.0 12.0
62 Okzhptes 1.0 1.0 5.7 6.7
Locomotiv Moscow 0.0 3.5 3.5

The table shows how Arsenal have been penalised by failing to qualify for this competition in most of the last 5 seasons.  We earned 14 points in 2019/20 for reaching the quarter finals, but that is that.  All clubs in this year’s competition also get 20% of the Association points meaning that we start the season with 27.7 making us the 22nd ranked team in the competition (important for seedings in the later rounds).

There are two paths to negotiate towards the round of 16 group stage.  The first is the Champions route where the individual Association champions have started.

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The second is the league path where the third placed teams from the top 6 and the second placed teams in the associations ranked 7 to 16 have started including Arsenal.

This table from Wikipedia explains it pretty well

Path Teams entering in this round Teams advancing from previous round
Round 1

(Mini-tournament)

Champions Path

(43 teams)

  • 43 champions from associations 8–50
League Path

(16 teams)

  • 6 third-placed teams from associations 1–6
  • 10 runners-up from associations 7–16
Round 2 Champions Path

(14 teams)

  • 3 champions from associations 5–7
  • 11 winners of round 1 (Champions Path)
League Path

(10 teams)

  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 4 winners of round 1 (League Path)
Group stage

(16 teams)

  • 4 champions from associations 1–4 (including title holders Barcelona)
  • 7 winners of round 2 (Champions Path)
  • 5 winners of round 2 (League Path)
Knockout phase

(8 teams)

  • 4 group winners of group stage
  • 4 group runners-up of group stage

The winners of the first round of matches in the League Path are

Team Association Uefa Coefficient
Arsenal England 27.7
Bordeaux France 18.4
1899 Hoffenheim Germany 15.1
Levante Spain 12.8
PSV Eindhoven Netherlands 9.0
Kristianstad Switzerland 8.1
Milan Italy 5.2
Rosenborg Norway 4.8

The four second games on Saturday are

  • Hoffenheim v Milan
  • Bordeaux v Kristianstad
  • Levante v Rosenborg
  • Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven

The winners of these four matches will play in the second round where the following teams enter the competition

Team Association Uefa Coefficient
Lyon France 124.4
Wolfsburg Germany 97.1
Man City England 79.7
Slavia Prague Czech Republic 52.5
Rosengård Sweden 49.1
Real Madrid Spain 12.8

The top five teams are seeded so (should we beat PSV) we are bound to be drawn against one of Lyon, Wolfsburg, Slavia Prague or Rosengård in order to reach the knockout phase.  We can’t be drawn against Man City..  Lyon or Wolfsburg would be very difficult requiring both a poor display from them and a great performance from us. Prague or Rosengård merely difficult, but we would fancy our chances of qualification.

The group stage is relatively straightforward.  Qualifying teams go into one of four groups of four, with all teams playing each other home and away.  The top two from each group go into a knockout to the final.  Quarter and semi-finals played home and away. The Final is a one-off game in the Juventus Stadium Turin on 22 May 2022.

As reigning champions, Barcelona, go straight into the Group stage, as do the League Champions of the top three Associations.  As Barcelona were also Spanish Champions, Chelsea are promoted to automatic Group Stage entry along with PSG from France and Bayern Munich.

1 comment to Women’s Champions League – How the competition works

  • AKH

    On a somewhat different topic, Untold Arsenal viewers may find the following article of interest. It has been taken from a Bloomberg News publication, dated 20/8/21

    <<< The rest of this comment has been cut. The comment consisted of an extensive piece which was copied from elsewhere - which would not only be contrary to the whole essence of "Untold" also it would be a violation of the copyright of the originators. We do ask that comments are relevant to the article, and also are not simply copied from another publication. We do also welcome original articles, but again they must not violated the copyright of others or simply a cut and paste job. We took the name "Untold" deliberately, meaning that our analyses and reviews are unique to ourselves. Tony Attwood, publisher

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