Champions League battles, who directly qualifies for the golden tickets

We are over halfway now in the football season and the knockout rounds for this season’s Champions League are about to commence. However, in the national leagues the battles for next season’s highly coveted champions league spots are up for grabs. There are some very tight races up ahead in the coming months to secure entrance to the lucrative tournament. (Source Opta)

  1. Premier League

Liverpool and Manchester City are considered title favourites and both look quite certain of their spot in next season’s Champions League. But is this the case for Arsenal and Aston Villa  who currently hold the 2 remaining tickets, as well?

Based on simulations of the remaining games with the current team strengths and form the chances for each of the top half teams in the Premier league to reach the top 4 and grab a CL entry ticket. 

TeamProbability to reach CLCurrent Position
Man City99.8%2
Aston Villa69.6%4
West Ham4.4%6
Man United0.6%8
Newcastle United0.5%10

It is highly likely that the current top 4 will also be the top 4 at the end of the season. The only team with any sort of chance to intervene in this scenario are the Spurs. If they manage to recover their form with players returning to fitness and Son returning from international duty who knows how things could fold out. 

  1. Bundesliga

The battle at the top is very interesting this season with Leverkusen and Bayern in a 2 dog fight for the Bundesliga title. However, behind those 2 ther is an intense battle for top 4  with Stuttgart, the surprise team at the start of the season looking to capitalise on their beginning form to secure a top spot while also Leipzig and Dortmund will try their all to qualify again for the champions league. 

The race for champions league spots in the Bundesliga currently looks like this. 

TeamProbability to reach CLCurrent Position
Bayer Leverkusen99.8%1
Bayern Munchen99.2%2
Borussia Dortmund81.6%5
RB Leipzig81.4%4
VfB Stuttgart29.4%3
Eintracht Frankfurt3.2%6

Stuttgart, although currently sitting in 3rd place behind Bayern and Leverkusen are not considered favourites at all to reach the Champions League. They are predicted to have a 29.4% chance of making it into the top 4 this season.  Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig both should have around 80% chance of qualifying for the Champions League whereas Eintracht Frankfurt and Freiburg have a tiny chance of reaching the highest club competition. 

  1. Ligue 1

The title looks already certain for PSG. But as always, the rest of the pack are mightily close to each other with everyone seeming capable of beating eachother. Different from the other top leagues in Europe, in France only the top 3 secure automatic qualification to the Champions League. 

The following teams are most likely to qualify directly for the champions league in France. 

TeamProbability to reach CLCurrent Position
OGC Nice56.0%2

The race for champions league places will definitely be more interesting to follow in France this year than the title race as there are 4 teams with over 30% chance of making it to the top 3 with only 1 of those teams having more than 50% as OGC Nice are slight favourites to make it to the Champions League but even Marseille and Lense in 7 and 8 still have a shot at returning to Europe’s highest club competition. 

  1. Serie A

In Italy, Inter and Juventus seem quite sure bets for reaching the Champions League while also AC Milan are on course. The 4th spot however is wide open with multiple teams boasting their chances of reaching the Champions League. 

Down below we see the current probabilities for the top teams to reach the top 4 at the end of the season. 

TeamProbability to reach CLCurrent Position
AC Milan97.7%3

Napoli despite a disastrous 9th place still are 3rd favourite to reach the desired 4th spot in the Serie A. The predictions seem to point at Atalanta slightly edging out on Lazio,Napoli and Fiorentina with Bologna and Roma considered a longshot. 

  1. La Liga

3 of the top 4 in La Liga are very familiar faces with Atletico,Real Madrid and Barcelona consistently sweeping up the top spots in La Liga. Newcomer Girona however are shaking things up in the top of Spain with a small chance of winning the league even. Their great results mean that it is highly likely we see them in next year’s champions league.  

TeamProbability to reach CLCurrent Position
Real Madrid99.9%2
FC Barcelona92.1%3
Atletico Madrid76.1%4
Athletic Club27.4%5
Real Sociedad10.3%6

Only Athletic Club and Real Sociedad seem to have any chance to disrupt the current top 4 in Spain  but the chances of them doing so are slim. Sociedad still have this year´s knockout matches to look forward to but probably will not repeat the same feat next season. 

Tight races up ahead

Most leagues already have 2 or 3 teams virtually secure of a spot for next year’s champions league. However, especially in Italy and France the final CL spots are very competitive and will definitely see some twists and turns in the final rounds coming up. 

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