How Many Teams in Champions League This Season?

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How many teams in Champions League? The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of football in Europe. There is no question that it is the biggest club competition in the game. However, many will argue that it is the biggest competition in football.

Despite this, it is the dream of every side in Europe to lift the Champions League trophy, with the eyes of the world watching the showpiece event wherever it takes place. The competition begins with a group stage before home and away knock-out rounds that end in a final. While everyone knows about the competition, few know how the teams are selected for it. In this guide, we will look at what the UEFA Champions League is, how teams are chosen and what the UEFA Coefficient is.

How Are Teams Selected for the Champions League?

This is all based on a coefficient that each member association is given by UEFA. Scores are generated via the results of the clubs that have represented a league over the last five years in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.

If an association has a high UEFA Coefficient, then they are able to offer more teams in their own league a place in the Champions League. It will also enable teams from that league fewer qualifying rounds that they must go through in order to make it to the group stage of the competition.


As of the 2009/10 season, the Champions League offers two qualification routes into the competition for sides that are not given direct entry. These routes are divided between clubs that win their league, and for the sides that qualify by finishing in second, third, or fourth, depending on how many European spots a league has. Five sides from each qualifying stream clinch a place in the group stages.

Besides, the remaining 22 participants are made up of the winners of the Champions League and Europa League. Both sides have been given automatic entry to the Champions League group stages regardless of what happens to them in their domestic season. All of the top 12 ranked associations are given at least one spot, with the leagues with a high coefficient given more spots.

2022/23 Champions League teams by nation

The countries below are listed in order of the number of teams qualified for the 2022/23 Champions League group stage.

No. of clubs Nation Clubs 5 Germany Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt 4 England Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham 4 Italy AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, Juventus 4 Spain Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla 3 Portugal Benfica, Porto, Sporting CP 2 France PSG, Olympique Marseille 2 Scotland Celtic, Rangers 1 Austria RB Salzburg 1 Belgium Club Brugge 1 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb 1 Czech Rep Viktoria Plzen 1 Denmark FC Copenhagen 1 Israel Maccabi Haifa 1 Netherlands Ajax 1 Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk

When did the Champions League group stage start?

Just a couple of weeks after the group stage draw, the first matchday took place on Sept. 6-7. All six matchdays will unfold before the break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November.

Players are required to be released to their national teams for the World Cup on Monday, Nov. 14, and the final Champions League group matches will take place about two weeks before Nov. 1-2.

The Champions League group stage has traditionally included a December round of matches, but that was moved up due to the World Cup schedule. The 2022 edition will be the first World Cup held in November-December timeframe.

Champions League dates 2022/23

Qualifying Stage (played in 2022)

  • Preliminary round semifinals: June 21
  • Preliminary round final: June 24
  • First Qualifying Rd.: July 5-6 (Leg 1) & July 12-13 (Leg 2)
  • Second Qualifying Rd.: July 19-20 (Leg 1) & July 26-27 (Leg 2)
  • Third Qualifying Rd.: Aug. 2-3 (Leg 1) & Aug. 9 (Leg 2)
  • Playoffs: Aug. 16-17 (Leg 1), Aug. 23-24 (Leg 2)

Group Stage (32 teams):

  • Matchday 1: Sept. 6-7
  • Matchday 2: Sept. 13-14
  • Matchday 3: Oct. 4-5
  • Matchday 4: Oct. 11-12
  • Matchday 5: Oct. 25-26
  • Matchday 6: Nov. 1-2

Knockout Stage (played in 2023):

  • Rd. of 16: Feb. 14/15 & 21/22 (Leg 1) & Mar. 7/8 & 14/15 (Leg 2)
  • Quarterfinals: April 11-12 (Leg 1) & April 18-19 (Leg 2)
  • Semifinals: May 9-10 (Leg 1), & May 16-17 (Leg 2)
  • Final: June 10

When are the Champions League draws in 2022/23?

The opening draw for the tournament’s preliminary round was held on June 7, just 10 days after the 2021/22 final crowned Real Madrid as champion.

Champions League 2022-23 draws

  • Preliminary round: June 7, 2022
  • First qualifying round: June 14, 2022
  • Second qualifying round: June 15, 2022
  • Third qualifying round: July 18, 2022
  • Playoff round: Aug. 2, 2022
  • Group stage: Aug. 25, 2022
  • Round of 16: Nov. 7, 2022
  • Quarterfinals & semifinals: Mar. 17, 2023

How Champions League places are determined

Every year, UEFA shuffles the deck using updated UEFA country coefficient rankings to determine how many spots in the various cup competitions are assigned to each country. The UEFA club coefficient rankings are different from the country coefficient rankings and are used to determine seeds throughout each competition.

The country coefficient rankings are calculated each year based on how all teams from each domestic league perform in European competitions.

It is no surprise that England is the top-ranked nation in the country coefficient list, with an English club winning two of the last four Champions League titles through 2021/22, and four different English clubs reaching the final across the last four competitions. That’s why the Premier League receives four automatic berths to the group stage every season.

Spain, Italy, and Germany round out the top four nations, and each of those leagues also earns four Champions League places due to their successful record.

Nations ranked No. 5 and No. 6 in the country coefficient list, France and Portugal, earn three places with the third-place teams entering in the qualifying rounds. Nations ranked No. 7 through No. 15 have two Champions League places each, including the qualifying rounds.

Click here to see UEFA’s full infographic of all qualifying positions by nation and league finish.

When Did the UEFA Champions League Start?

The competition began back in 1955/56, and it has been held every year ever since. When it began, the tournament was known as the European Cup, with this its name until 1992. This competition saw just 16 teams involved across four knock-outs rounds, with a first-round, quarter-final, semi-final, and final all being played.

The first iteration of the cup saw Real Madrid beating Reims 4-3 to be the first side to ever win the competition – it had to be Madrid, right?

Since then, the competition has changed quite a bit. 1960 saw the competition double in size to 32 teams, with an additional round added to the format. 1992 then saw the tournament become the UEFA Champions League, with the first-round removed and replaced by the group stages we all know and love.

The 32 different sides of the competition were split into eight groups of four. Each side played the other three sides at home and away, totaling six group-stage games. The top sides would then advance from the groups, with those teams then battling through the Round of 16 and onwards.

What happens if the Champions League winners also qualify via their domestic league?

The Champions League winners are guaranteed a place in next season’s competition regardless of their domestic league finish.

If a team wins the competition and also qualifies via their domestic league finish, that does not mean that another club from that same country gets a spot in the Champions League.

Instead, the highest-ranked nation in the country coefficient list without a club in the group stage would get bumped up, and that country’s champion would go directly into the group stage.


Real Madrid won the Champions League title in 2021/22 and also topped La Liga in Spain. The extra automatic berth to the group stage went to the next nation in the country coefficient list. That country was Ukraine given Russia was skipped over after its clubs were banned from competing in 2022/23. That meant an automatic group-stage berth for Shakhtar Donetsk instead of having to navigate the qualifying stages.

With Ukraine bumped up, the rest of the competition is reconfigured in a similar fashion, with each nation bumped up to a higher round. For example, Shakhtar’s spot in the playoff round was consequently taken by Denmark’s champion FC Copenhagen, with the next country in line taking the spot vacated by FC Copenhagen. And the trickle effect is applied to the rest of the tournament.

How does Russia’s ban affect Champions League places?

Due to the war in Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA announced in February 2022 that Russia would be indefinitely banned from competition on both an international and a club level. On May 2, UEFA announced that Russian clubs were disqualified from competing in the 2022/23 editions of all European tournaments.

With Russia’s two slots vacated, it left one gap in the group stage and one gap in the third qualifying round.

Moreover, the group stage place was filled by the highest-ranking qualifier left in the playoff round (Scotland’s league champion). That, ironically enough, put Ukraine next in line to get a group stage spot. That’s because Real Madrid’s 2021/22 Champions League triumph meant Scotland’s champion (Celtic) earned an automatic group stage berth since Real Madrid had also finished top in Spain’s La Liga. Ukraine was next up after Scotland.

Ukraine’s own places in the competition took some resolving, as the league was suspended on Feb. 24 due to the war, and it was officially abandoned on April 26. The Ukrainian Football League decided to award its two Champions League places to the top two teams in the table as of the suspension of the league, with Shakhtar Donetsk in first and Dynamo Kyiv in second.

Here is the rebalanced qualification format with Russian clubs out. Scotland is now guaranteed to have a group stage spot, and the next-highest ranked nation – Ukraine – will also get a group stage spot unless this year’s winner doesn’t qualify directly by league.

Where is the Champions League final in 2023?

All roads during the 2022/23 tournament will lead to Turkey.

The 2023 final is due to be played at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. It is a place that holds special memories for Liverpool.

The venue was the location for their famous 2005 Champions League triumph, where they fought back from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties.

Moreover, don’t forget to visit and follow us – FootballTerms to learn more about Champion Leagues rules.

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