The season 2017-2018 will see the 63rd edition of the prime tournament for European football teams, which was first named the Champions'Club Cup, but for 26 editions it has been held under the title of the Champions League. It is organised by UEFA.
The League Final Match and the benefits for the winners
The final match in the 2017-2018 Champions League will take place in Ukraine, on Kiev's Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
Besides the victory for the tournament, the winning team will qualify for the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup where it will be a representative at the tournament to be held in the United Arab Emirates. The other benefit will be the right the winner will earn to play in the Super Cup of UEFA in 2018, with the team which will emerge as the winner in the UEFA Europa League 2017-2018.
The defending champion
The current champion, Real Madrid, defeated Juventus to grab the victory in the 2016-2017 season. That is the team that boasts an amazing highest number of victories in the tournament: 12, including in the inaugural season.
The teams in the Champions League: how qualifying takes place
The participating teams are 79 in total, and come from 54 UEFA member associations. Only one member, Liechstenstein, is an exception, as it does not have its domestic league.
The number of teams that will participate in that prime European tournament is determined by the UEFA coefficients for the countries. Each of the first three associations has 4 teams which qualify, the next three associations have each 3 teams, associations from 7 to 15 have each 2 teams, and the remaining associations have each one team. As mentioned above, Liechtenstein is an exception.
Together with these, the winning team in the previous season, currently Real Madrid, and the winning team in the previous season of Europa League are also given an entry, if they fail to qualify for the season via their domestic leagues.
But because there is a requirement for 5 teams maximum from an association, the teams occupying the fourth places are moved to Europa League.
England will participate with five teams this season
In the 2017-2018 season of the Champions League, Liverpool will enter in the league route in the playoffs.
The top 3 teams of England: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester City, will be among the teams in the group stage, and Manchester United will be the fourth team, as it finished outside the top 4 teams in the Premier League, but it is the current Europa League champion.
The teams for the 2017-2018 season
The previous winner, Real Madrid, has qualified in its country's domestic league. Manchester United, the previous Europa League winner, did not qualify in its domestic league. So that means there will be need for an additional entry.
This season will see the debut of Kosovo, a new member of UEFA.
The qualifying rounds
These rounds are three.
- Qualifying round One
In this round, the 10 smallest leagues champions play. Five of them pass on to round Two.
The draw for the season's round One was held on 19 June. The first legs took place on 27 and 28 June, and the second legs on 4 and 5 July.
- Qualifying round Two
In this round, 29 teams participate, also champions of their countries leagues. Thereare 5 teams from round One; the total of teams for this round is 34, plus 17 ties.
The draw for round Two was held simultaneously with the draw for round One. The playing of the first legs is scheduled for 11 and 12 July, and the holding of second legs for 18 and 19 July.
- Qualifying round Three
This round is comprised of a champions route and a league route. The draw is scheduled for 14 July, the first legs will be played on 25 and 26 July, and the second legs on 1 and 2 August.
The champions route will cimprise the 17 winners of round Two; they will be joined by another 3 league champions; for this season, they are the teams of the Czech Republic, Greece, and Romania. That will amount to 20 teams in total, and 10 ties will be held.
The playoffs is the last round which will take place prior to the group stage. In it, there again will be a champions route and a league route. The draw for the playoffs is scheduled on 4 August. The matches in the first legs will be on 15 and 16 August, and those in the second legs on 22 and 23 August.
The champions route will see no new team additions. The 10 winners from the champions route in round Three will compete in 5 ties. The 5 winners in it will progress to the group stage.
In the league route, there will be an addition of 5 teams from round Three. In the 10 ties in that route, the 5 winners in it will progress to the group stage.
The group stage
The composition of teams to compete in the group stage will comprise the 5 winners from the champions route, the 5 winners from the league route, plus 22 new teams.
The draw for this stage is scheduled for 24 August, and the first matches will take place on 12 and 13 September.
The seeding in the draw will be made from 4 pots, each of them comprising 8 teams.
In Pot 1, the participants will include the Champions League holders plus the league winners of the 7 countries which emerge as the top ones on the basis of UEFA coefficients. In this season, because the holders, Real Madrid or Juventus, will also come in the top 7 league winners, there will be one pot place for Ukraine, the eighth ranking country.
In Pots 2 to 4, the seeding will be effected according to the teams' club coefficients.
Changes in the qualifications system after the 2017-2018 season
The 2017-2018 season will retain the current system of qualifications. A new system is envisaged to be introduced for the 2018-2019 season, with some changes. According to the new system, the top 4 countries, currently having the highest UEFA rankings: Spain, Germany, England and Italy, will automatically gain the right for inclusion in the group stage.