In two months, on the 18th of September, the group stage of the Champions League championship season 2018/2019 will begin. We will remind you that according to new regulations of the main UEFA club tournament, now the main grid consists not twenty two teams as earlier but twenty six teams. And, the most important positions belong to the quartet of the most top national leagues:
Spanish La Liga – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Valencia
English Premier League – Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool
German Bundesliga – Bayern, Schalke, Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund
Italian Serie A – Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Inter
As we see, sixteen of thirty two final participants of the group stage will be represented by the quartet of the most popular football leagues. Today PSG, Monaco and Lyon (France), Lokomotiv Moscow and CSKA (Russia), Porto (Portugal), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Brügge (Belgium), Galatasaray (Turkey) and Viktoria (Czech Republic) became the full participants of the main grid.
So, what do we have now? From now fifty participants of four qualification rounds as a result are fighting only for six berths into autumn group stage. And now, after finishing of the first qualification round on the 18th of July, the final number of challengers for a new title of the club champion of Europe has been reduced to sixty teams representing thirty five various countries of the continent:
Spain – 4,
England – 4,
Germany – 4,
Italy – 4,
France – 3,
Russia – 3,
Portugal – 2,
Belgium – 2,
the Netherlands – 2,
Austria – 2,
Switzerland – 2,
Greece – 2,
Turkey – 2,
the Czech Republic – 2,
Ukraine – 2,
Kazakhstan – 1 team for each country.
That is how do the thirty five national federations in a tournament grid of the new championship of the Champions League look like today. And from sixty present challengers for a new champion title twenty four teams will take part in the next, second qualification round. The first matches of this stage will take place on the 24-25th of July, return legs – on the 31st of July and on the 1st of August.
Of course, from twelve new qualification pairs the most interesting is the forthcoming battle of Celtic (Scotland) and Rosenborg (Norway). And though, according to experts, the bright favorite of this pair is considered to be the team of Brendan Rodgers, we won’t say that the Kings of Trondheim are good for nothing. The new championship of Scotland hasn’t started yet while the Norwegian Eliteserien is among eleven summer championships and therefore Rosenborg has reached the peak of its form.
We will provide you with more details in our future predictions about the forthcoming matches of the second qualification round. And now it is necessary to make very important specification. In the next, third round of qualification (on the 7-8th of August and 14-15th of August) twenty teams will be playing. These are twelve winners of the second round and also eight new teams: Spartak Moscow (Russia), Benfica (Portugal), Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Standard (Belgium), Fenerbahçe (Turkey), Slavia Praha (Czech Republic), AEK (Greece) and Salzburg (Austria).