The 2021-22 Champions League looks all set for a thrilling climax, but for many clubs, thoughts are already beginning to turn to next year’s competition.
With two teams left standing in the current competition – Liverpool and Real Madrid will face off in Paris on May 28 – it’s time to take a look at how next year’s competition will be constructed.
Liverpool and Real Madrid have already confirmed a place in next season’s tournament, based solely on their domestic league table position. But there are plenty of spots that are still up for grabs.
Here Sporting News brings you everything you need to know to get ready for the 2022-23 Champions League.
MORE: All 32 teams that participated in the 2021-22 Champions League
When does the 2022-23 Champions League start?
Once this year Champions League winner is crowned on May 28, the planning for next season’s competition begins almost immediately.
Remember, a worldwide club football break is being taken from late November through to late December, to make room for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
That will condense the schedule and push matches on all fronts back later than usual.
Champions League 2022-23 key dates
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
MORE: When and where is the 2023 Champions League final?
When are the 2022-23 Champions League draws?
The draw schedule for next season’s competition begins in June, just 10 days after the 2021-22 final is held in Saint-Denis, France.
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 and semifinals: TBC
Which teams have qualified for the 2022-23 Champions League?
Here are all the countries with multiple teams in the Champions League in 2022-23.
All other European countries not listed have just one place, reserved for the domestic league champion.
2022-23 Champions League teams by nation
Countries listed in order of UEFA coefficient
|Nation||Team 1||Team 2||Team 3||Team 4|
|Spain||Real Madrid||Barcelona||Atletico Madrid||Seville|
|Italy||AC Milan||Inter Milan||Naples||Juventus|
|Germany||Bayern Munich||Borussia Dortmund||Bayer Leverkusen||RB Leipzig|
|France||Paris Saint-Germain||Olympique Marseille||AS Monaco **||–|
|Portugal||port||Sporting CP||Benfica **||–|
|Belgium||Club Brugge||Union Saint-Gilloise **||–||–|
|Austria||RB Salzburg||Sturm Graz ***||–||–|
|Ukraine||Shakhtar Donetsk||Dynamo Kyiv ***||–||–|
|Turkey||Trabzonspor *||Fenerbahce ***||–||–|
|Denmark||FC Copenhagen **||Midtjylland ***||–||–|
|Cyprus||Apollon Limassol **||TBD ***||–||–|
* = Team entering in playoff round
** = Team entering in 3rd qualifying round
*** = Team entering in 2nd qualifying round
**** = Team entering in 1st qualifying round
***** = Team entering in preliminary round
Click here to see UEFA’s full infographic of all qualifying positions by nation and league finish.
† Russian teams have been indefinitely banned from European competition. On May 2, UEFA announced that Russian clubs were banned from participation in all UEFA competitions for 2022-23.
Champions League group stage teams
The group stage for next year’s Champions League tournament is set, except for those teams that must earn their place through the playoff round.
|Real Madrid||Barcelona||Atletico Madrid||Seville|
|AC Milan||Inter Milan||Naples||Juventus|
|Bayern Munich||Borussia Dortmund||Bayer Leverkusen||RB Leipzig|
|PSG||Olympique Marseille||port||Sporting CP|
|Ajax||Club Brugge||RB Salzburg||Celtic|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||Eintracht Frankfurt||From playoff round||From playoff round|
|From playoff round||From playoff round||From playoff round||From playoff round|
MORE: Champions League top goalscorers 2021-22: Updated rankings
How Champions League places are determined
Every year, UEFA shuffles the deck using updated UEFA league coefficient rankings.
These rankings are calculated each year based on how teams from each domestic league perform in the Champions League in recent history.
The table above is listed in order of UEFA coefficient. It is no surprise that England is the top-ranked league, with an English club winning two of the last three titles through 2020-21, and seeing four different clubs reach the final across the last three competitions.
Spain, Italy, and Germany round out the top four, and each of those leagues earn four Champions League places.
Nations ranked No. 5 and No. 6, France and Portugal in the upcoming edition, earn three places, while leagues No. 7 through No. 15 earn two.
The individual coefficient ranking within those sectors determine what stage each team enters into.
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.
This season, the 2021-22 finalists – Liverpool and Real Madrid – have already qualified for 2022-23 via their respective domestic leagues.
Whichever of the two clubs hoists the trophy, there will NOT be an extra Champions League berth for another team from their domestic league. Instead, the highest-ranked nation without a club in the group stage would be bumped up, and their champion would go directly through to the group stage.
This year, that league is Ukraine (instead of Scotland, which took the place of Russia, banned due to the war in Ukraine). That means Shakhtar Donetsk, which was awarded the league title by the Ukrainian FA after the abandonment of the league season, will be handed a group stage place, instead of entering at the playoff round.
With Ukraine bumped up, the rest of the competition is reconfigured in the same way, with each highest-ranked nation without a berth bumped up to a higher round.
For example, that would see the Danish champion moved into the playoff round to take Shakhtar’s place, with the champions of Serbia jumping into the third qualifying round, and the Greek champions bumped into the second qualifying round. And so it goes.
How does Russia ban affect Champions League places?
Due to the war in Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA announced in February 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 two slots vacated, it left one gap in the group stage and one gap in the third qualifying round. 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 in the case the 2021-22 winner also qualified from its league. So in addition to Scotland, Ukraine was the biggest beneficiary of Russia exclusion.
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 winner does not qualify directly by league. pic.twitter.com/UN5uZ6tqVO
– Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) May 2, 2022
Where is the 2022-23 Champions League final?
Once all that is worked out, the 2022-23 competition will finally be able to get underway, and all roads will lead to Turkey.
The 2022-23 final is due to be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, a place which 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.