2015–16 UEFA Champions League

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2015–16 UEFA Champions League
Scudo2009.jpg
The San Siro in Milan will host the final.
Tournament details
Dates 30 June – 26 August 2015 (qualifying)
15 September 2015 – 28 May 2016 (competition proper)
Teams 32 (group stage)
77 or 78 or 79 (total) (from 53 associations)

The 2015–16 UEFA Champions League will be the 61st season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 24th season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs' Cup to the UEFA Champions League.

The 2016 UEFA Champions League Final will be played at the San Siro in Milan, Italy.[1]

Format changes[edit]

The UEFA Executive Committee held in May 2013 approved the following changes to the UEFA Champions League starting from the 2015–16 season (for the three-year cycle until the 2017–18 season):[2]

  • The winners of the previous season's UEFA Europa League will qualify for the UEFA Champions League. They will enter at least the play-off round, and will enter the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders is not used.
  • The previous limit of a maximum of four teams per association will be increased to five, meaning that if the Champions League title holders or the Europa League title holders are from the top three ranked associations (but not both from the same one) and finish outside the top four of their domestic league, the fourth-placed team of their association will not be prevented from participating in the tournament. However, if both the Champions League title holders and the Europa League title holders are from the same top three ranked association and finish outside the top four of their domestic league, the fourth-placed team of their association will be moved to the Europa League.[3]

Association team allocation[edit]

A total of 77, 78 or 79 teams from 53 of the 54 UEFA member associations are expected to participate in the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League (the exception being Liechtenstein, which do not organise a domestic league). The association ranking based on the UEFA country coefficients is used to determine the number of participating teams for each association:[4]

  • Associations 1–3 each have four teams qualify.
  • Associations 4–6 each have three teams qualify.
  • Associations 7–15 each have two teams qualify.
  • Associations 16–54 (except Liechtenstein) each have one team qualify.
  • The winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League and 2014–15 UEFA Europa League are each given an additional entry if they do not qualify for the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League through their domestic league.

Association ranking[edit]

For the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, the associations are allocated places according to their 2014 UEFA country coefficients, which takes into account their performance in European competitions from 2009–10 to 2013–14.[6][7]

Rank Association Coeff. Teams
1 Spain Spain 97.713 4
2 England England 84.748
3 Germany Germany 81.641
4 Italy Italy 66.938 3
5 Portugal Portugal 62.299
6 France France 56.500
7 Russia Russia 46.998 2
8 Netherlands Netherlands 44.312
9 Ukraine Ukraine 40.966
10 Belgium Belgium 36.300
11 Turkey Turkey 34.200
12 Greece Greece 33.600
13 Switzerland Switzerland 33.225
14 Austria Austria 30.925
15 Czech Republic Czech Republic 29.350
16 Romania Romania 27.257 1
17 Israel Israel 26.875
18 Cyprus Cyprus 23.250
Rank Association Coeff. Teams
19 Denmark Denmark 21.300 1
20 Croatia Croatia 19.625
21 Poland Poland 18.875
22 Belarus Belarus 18.625
23 Scotland Scotland 16.566
24 Sweden Sweden 16.325
25 Bulgaria Bulgaria 15.625
26 Norway Norway 14.275
27 Serbia Serbia 14.125
28 Hungary Hungary 11.625
29 Slovenia Slovenia 11.000
30 Slovakia Slovakia 11.000
31 Moldova Moldova 10.375
32 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 10.375
33 Georgia (country) Georgia 9.875
34 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 8.250
35 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 7.500
36 Finland Finland 7.175
Rank Association Coeff. Teams
37 Iceland Iceland 6.750 1
38 Latvia Latvia 6.250
39 Montenegro Montenegro 6.000
40 Albania Albania 5.500
41 Lithuania Lithuania 5.250
42 Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 5.250
43 Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland 5.125
44 Luxembourg Luxembourg 4.875
45 Malta Malta 4.833
46 Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 4.500 0
47 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 3.625 1
48 Wales Wales 3.000
49 Armenia Armenia 2.875
50 Estonia Estonia 2.875
51 Faroe Islands Faroe Islands 2.125
52 San Marino San Marino 0.999
53 Andorra Andorra 0.833
54 Gibraltar Gibraltar 0.000

Distribution[edit]

The table below shows the default access list.[5][8]

Teams entering in this round Teams advancing from previous round
First qualifying round
(8 teams)
  • 8 champions from associations 47–54
Second qualifying round
(34 teams)
  • 30 champions from associations 16–46 (except Liechtenstein)
  • 4 winners from the first qualifying round
Third qualifying round Champions Route
(20 teams)
  • 3 champions from associations 13–15
  • 17 winners from the second qualifying round
League Route
(10 teams)
  • 9 runners-up from associations 7–15
  • 1 third-placed team from association 6
Play-off round Champions Route
(10 teams)
  • 10 winners from the third qualifying round (Champions Route)
League Route
(10 teams)
  • 2 third-placed teams from associations 4–5
  • 3 fourth-placed teams from associations 1–3
  • 5 winners from the third qualifying round (League Route)
Group stage
(32 teams)
  • Champions League title holders
  • 12 champions from associations 1–12
  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 3 third-placed teams from associations 1–3
  • 5 winners from the play-off round (Champions Route)
  • 5 winners from the play-off round (League Route)
Knockout phase
(16 teams)
  • 8 group winners from the group stage
  • 8 group runners-up from the group stage


Changes will need to be made in the following cases:

  • If both the Champions League title holders and the Europa League title holders have qualified for the group stage through domestic performance, the champions of association 13 are moved from the third qualifying round to the group stage, the champions of association 16 are moved from the second qualifying round to the third qualifying round, and the champions of associations 47 and 48 are moved from the first qualifying round to the second qualifying round.
  • If the Champions League title holders have qualified for the group stage through domestic performance while the Europa League title holders have not, the Europa League title holders enter the group stage through the berth vacated by the Champions League title holders. If the Europa League title holders have qualified for any of the qualifying rounds or play-off round through domestic performance, their berth is vacated, and teams of the highest-ranked associations are moved to a later round accordingly.
  • If the Champions League title holders have not qualified for the group stage through domestic performance, there are two sets of changes that may need to be made:
    1. If the Champions League title holders have qualified for any of the qualifying rounds or play-off round through domestic performance, their berth is vacated, and teams of the highest-ranked associations are moved to a later round accordingly. Similar team movements are possible as well, if the Europa League title holders have entered in force the play-off round of a certain Route while qualified for any round of another Route,[3] thereby vacating their berth in the last one.
    2. If the Europa League title holders have not qualified for the group stage through domestic performance, they enter the play-off round, where the section (Champions Route or League Route) they enter depends on whether the Champions League title holders are league champions of Association 13-54[3] or not. Unless the Europa League title holders have entered and qualified for the play-off round (League Route) through domestic performance, teams of the lowest-ranked associations are moved to an earlier round accordingly. For example (examples below do not take into account the possible moves due to the berth vacated by the Champions League title holders in the League Route and by the Europa League title holders in the Champions Route):
      • If the Europa League title holders have entered the play-off round (League Route) and not qualified for the Champions League through domestic performance, the third-placed teams of associations 4 and 5 are moved from the play-off round to the third qualifying round.
      • If the Europa League title holders have entered the play-off round (League Route) and qualified for the third qualifying round (League Route) through domestic performance, the third-placed team of association 5 are moved from the play-off round to the third qualifying round.
      • If the Europa League title holders have entered the play-off round (Champions Route), only 9 winners of the third qualifying round (Champions Route) advance to the play-off round. While the exact changes that need to be made are to be defined by UEFA as there is no similar precedent, a few possible scenarios are given below for the least unlikely case where the Champions League title holders have qualified for the third qualifying round (Champions Route):
        a) Two champions of associations 13–15 (except the Champions League title holders) are moved from the third qualifying round to the second qualifying round.
        b) The champions of association 15 (or the champions of association 14 if the Champions League title holders are from association 15) are moved from the third qualifying round to the second qualifying round, and the champions of associations 44 and 45 are moved from the second qualifying round to the first qualifying round.
        c) The champions of associations 42–45 are moved from the second qualifying round to the first qualifying round.
    Another cases when the Europa League title holders enter the play-off round without other changes to the access list are given below:
    - The Champions League title holders have qualified for the play-off round (League Route) through domestic performance while the Europa League title holders have not qualified for the Champions League at all.
    - Both the Champions League and the Europa League title holders have qualified for the third qualifying round of the same Route through domestic performance.
    - Both the Champions League and the Europa League title holders are from the same top three ranked association and have not qualified for the Champions League at all through domestic performance. Thus the Europa League title holders just replace the fourth-placed team of their association in the play-off round (League Route) due to the restriction of at most 5 teams per association.
Various types of changes in the access list interfere each other, resulting in redistribution of teams between rounds and stages. The summary of such teams moves, depending on which round or stage the Champions League and Europa League title holders have qualified for through domestic performance, is presented in the table below (the above-mentioned examples are included as well).
The Europa League title holders have qualified for
G LQ4 LQ3 None CQ3
The
Champions
League
title
holders
have
qualified
for
G G<CQ3
CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
LQ4<<LQ3


LQ4<LQ3





CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
LQ4 LQ4<<LQ3

LQ4<<LQ3

LQ4<LQ3

CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
LQ3 LQ4<LQ3


LQ4<LQ3


LQ4>LQ3


LQ4>LQ3
CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
None LQ4>LQ3


LQ4>>LQ3[A]


LQ4>>LQ3
CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
CQ3
CQ3<CQ2
CQ2<<CQ1
LQ4<<LQ3
CQ3>CQ2
CQ2>>CQ1
LQ4<LQ3
CQ3>CQ2
CQ2>>CQ1

CQ3>CQ2
CQ2>>CQ1
  1. ^ Unless both the Champions League and the Europa League title holders are from the same top three association.

Table legend:
G - the group stage;
LQ4 / LQ3 – the play-off / third qualifying round (League Route);
CQ3 / CQ2 / CQ1 – the third / second / first qualifying round (Champions Route);
< – moving a team of one the highest-ranked association to a later round;
<< – moving teams of two the highest-ranked associations to a later round;
> – moving a team of one the lowest-ranked association to an earlier round;
>> – moving teams of two the lowest-ranked associations to an earlier round;
Colored backgrounds of cells designate entering the Europa League title holders in the:

  •   group stage
  •   play-off round (League Route)
  •   play-off round (Champions Route)

Colored frames of cells designate different numbers of losers of the Champions League third qualifying round, which are transferred to the Europa League, other than the default number of 15 (see here):

  •   16
  •   14
  •   13

Teams[edit]

League positions of the previous season shown in parentheses (CL: Champions League title holders; EL: Europa League title holders).[9]

Group stage
(CL) England (3rd) Portugal (1st) Ukraine (1st)
Spain (1st) Germany (1st) Portugal (2nd) Belgium (1st)
Spain (2nd) Germany (2nd) France (1st) Turkey (1st)
Spain (3rd) Germany (3rd) France (2nd) Greece (1st)
England (1st) Italy (1st) Russia (1st)
England (2nd) Italy (2nd) Netherlands (1st)
Play-off round
Champions Route League Route
Spain (4th) Germany (4th) Portugal (3rd)
England (4th) Italy (3rd)
Third qualifying round
Champions Route League Route
Switzerland (1st) France (3rd) Belgium (2nd) Austria (2nd)
Austria (1st) Russia (2nd) Turkey (2nd) Czech Republic (2nd)
Czech Republic (1st) Netherlands (2nd) Greece (2nd)
Ukraine (2nd) Switzerland (2nd)
Second qualifying round
Romania (1st) Sweden Malmö FF (1st) Azerbaijan (1st) Albania (1st)
Israel (1st) Bulgaria (1st) Georgia (country) (1st) Lithuania Žalgiris Vilnius (1st)
Cyprus (1st) Norway Molde (1st) Kazakhstan Astana (1st) Republic of Macedonia (1st)
Denmark (1st) Serbia (1st) Bosnia and Herzegovina (1st) Republic of Ireland Dundalk (1st)
Croatia (1st) Hungary (1st) Finland HJK (1st) Luxembourg (1st)
Poland (1st) Slovenia (1st) Iceland Stjarnan (1st) Malta (1st)
Belarus BATE Borisov (1st) Slovakia (1st) Latvia Ventspils (1st)
Scotland (1st) Moldova (1st) Montenegro (1st)
First qualifying round
Northern Ireland (1st) Armenia (1st) Faroe Islands B36 Tórshavn (1st) Andorra (1st)
Wales (1st) Estonia Levadia Tallinn (1st) San Marino (1st) Gibraltar (1st)

Round and draw dates[edit]

The tentative schedule of the competition, to be officially confirmed, is as follows (all draws held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, unless stated otherwise).[5][10]

Phase Round Draw date First leg Second leg
Qualifying First qualifying round 22 June 2015 30 June–1 July 2015 7–8 July 2015
Second qualifying round 14–15 July 2015 21–22 July 2015
Third qualifying round 17 July 2015 28–29 July 2015 4–5 August 2015
Play-off Play-off round 7 August 2015 18–19 August 2015 25–26 August 2015
Group stage Matchday 1 27 August 2015
(Monaco)
15–16 September 2015
Matchday 2 29–30 September 2015
Matchday 3 20–21 October 2015
Matchday 4 3–4 November 2015
Matchday 5 24–25 November 2015
Matchday 6 8–9 December 2015
Knockout phase Round of 16 14 December 2015 16–17 & 23–24 February 2016 8–9 & 15–16 March 2016
Quarter-finals 18 March 2016 5–6 April 2016 12–13 April 2016
Semi-finals 15 April 2016 26–27 April 2016 3–4 May 2016
Final 28 May 2016 at San Siro, Milan

Qualifying rounds[edit]

In the qualifying rounds and the play-off round, teams are divided into seeded and unseeded teams based on their 2015 UEFA club coefficients,[11][12] and then drawn into two-legged home-and-away ties. Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.

First qualifying round[edit]

The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds will be held on 22 June 2015. The first legs will be played on 30 June and 1 July, and the second legs will be played on 7 and 8 July 2015.

A total of eight teams play in the first qualifying round.

Second qualifying round[edit]

The first legs will be played on 14 and 15 July, and the second legs will be played on 21 and 22 July 2015.

A total of 34 teams play in the second qualifying round: 30 teams which enter in this round, and the four winners of the first qualifying round.

Third qualifying round[edit]

The third qualifying round is split into two separate sections: Champions Route (for league champions) and League Route (for league non-champions). The losing teams in both sections enter the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League play-off round.

The draw for the third qualifying round will be held on 17 July 2015. The first legs will be played on 28 and 29 July, and the second legs will be played on 4 and 5 August 2015.

A total of 30 teams play in the third qualifying round:

Champions Route

Three teams which enter in this round, and the 17 winners of the second qualifying round.

League Route

Ten teams which enter in this round.

Play-off round[edit]

The play-off round is split into two separate sections: Champions Route (for league champions) and League Route (for league non-champions). The losing teams in both sections enter the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League group stage.

The draw for the play-off round will be held on 7 August 2015. The first legs will be played on 18 and 19 August, and the second legs will be played on 25 and 26 August 2015.

A total of 20 teams play in the play-off round:

Champions Route

The ten Champions Route winners of the third qualifying round.

League Route

Five teams which enter in this round, and the five League Route winners of the third qualifying round.

NOTE: The winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League enter the play-off round if both they and the winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League have not qualified for the group stage through domestic performance, where the section (Champions Route or League Route) they enter depends on whether the winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League are domestic league champions or not.[3]

Group stage[edit]

The draw for the group stage will be held in Monaco on 27 August 2015. The 32 teams are allocated into four pots based on their 2015 UEFA club coefficients,[11][12] with the title holders being placed in Pot 1 automatically. (Note: UEFA has proposed a change in the seeding system such that Pot 1 contains the title holders and the champions of the top seven associations.)[13] They are drawn into eight groups of four, with the restriction that teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.

In each group, teams play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format. The matchdays are 15–16 September, 29–30 September, 20–21 October, 3–4 November, 24–25 November, and 8–9 December 2015. The group winners and runners-up advance to the round of 16, while the third-placed teams enter the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League round of 32.

The youth teams of the clubs that qualify for the group stage also participate in the 2015–16 UEFA Youth League, where they are joined by the youth domestic champions of the top 32 associations.

A total of 32 teams play in the group stage: 22 teams which enter in this stage, and the 10 winners of the play-off round (5 from Champions Route, 5 from League Route).

NOTE: The winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League enter the group stage if the winners of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League have qualified for the group stage through domestic performance.

Knockout phase[edit]

In the knockout phase, teams play against each other over two legs on a home-and-away basis, except for the one-match final. The mechanism of the draws for each round is as follows:

  • In the draw for the round of 16, the eight group winners are seeded, and the eight group runners-up are unseeded. The seeded teams are drawn against the unseeded teams, with the seeded teams hosting the second leg. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
  • In the draws for the quarter-finals onwards, there are no seedings, and teams from the same group or the same association can be drawn against each other.

Round of 16[edit]

The draw for the round of 16 will be held on 14 December 2015. The first legs will be played on 16, 17, 23 and 24 February, and the second legs will be played on 8, 9, 15 and 16 March 2016.

Quarter-finals[edit]

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 18 March 2016. The first legs will be played on 5 and 6 April, and the second legs will be played on 12 and 13 April 2016.

Semi-finals[edit]

The draw for the semi-finals and final (to determine the "home" team for administrative purposes) will be held on 15 April 2016. The first legs will be played on 26 and 27 April, and the second legs will be played on 3 and 4 May 2016.

Final[edit]

The final will be played on 28 May 2016 at the San Siro in Milan, Italy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]