Before Champions League football returns to our screens, the organizers must initiate the qualification phase. The Champions League qualification 2023/24 is already underway, currently in the third qualifying rounds, and some teams are already displaying promising performances. The Champions League qualification stage is where elite football teams fiercely compete for the opportunity to secure their place in the prestigious group stage. The world eagerly anticipates the drama and excitement that comes with this pinnacle of club football. Here are five teams expected to secure their passage into the revered tournament. With dreams of lifting the coveted trophy, let’s assess these teams’ chances of making it into the prestigious competition.
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Overview of the 2023-24 Champions League Qualifiers Structure
- The preliminary round involves four teams, with the victor earning a place in the first qualifying round. It includes teams from associations with fewer automatic spots in the Champions League group stage, necessitating their participation in this round.
- This year’s format features a single-leg knockout match, and only one team advances. The remaining three teams enter the Champions Path of the UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
First qualifying round
- The first qualifying round consists of thirty teams. The preliminary round winner joins the mix, bringing the total to 30, which includes the 29 automatic entrants. Ties are played over two legs, starting from the first qualifying round.
- The winners of each tie progress to the second qualifying round (Champions Path), while the losing teams enter the Europa Conference League’s Champions Path. Out of the latter, thirteen teams move on to the second qualifying round, and two receive a bye to the third qualifying round of the conference league.
Second qualifying round
- The second qualifying round features twenty-four teams, comprising fifteen first-round winners and nine automatic qualifiers.
- Two paths are available for teams in the second qualifying round: The League Path with four automatic entrants, and the Champions Path with five, in addition to the fifteen first-round winners.
- The winners of the two-legged ties advance to the third qualifying round of their respective paths. Defeated teams proceed to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, with Champions Path losers entering the Champions Path and League Path losers joining the Main Path.
Third qualifying round
- In the third qualifying round, twenty teams compete, consisting of twelve winners from the second qualifying round and eight automatic entries.
- The third qualifying round offers two paths for advancement. The League Path comprises six automatic participants and two winners from the second qualifying round. Meanwhile, the Champions Path includes two automatic entrants and ten winners from the second qualifying round.
- The victorious teams in the two-legged ties progress to the play-off round of their respective paths. Defeated teams move on to the Europa League. The losers of the League Path advance to the group stage, while those on the Champions Path transition to their respective paths for the Europa League play-off round.
- The play-off round features ten teams: two automatic entries and ten third-place finishers.
- The play-off round consists of two paths. The Champions Path includes two automatic entrants and six third-place finishers, whereas the League Path comprises four third-place finishers.
- The winners of the six best-of-two matches join the 26 teams that received direct entry into the Champions League group stage. Teams that lose in the play-off round proceed to the group stage of the Europa League.
Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw Details
Following the playoffs, the draw for the Champions League 2023/24 group stage is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 31, at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The draw will consist of 32 teams, comprising the 26 automatic qualifiers and the six victorious teams from the play-off round.
Teams Expected to Progress in the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Qualifiers
Olympique de Marseille: Marseille has significantly bolstered their offensive power with the recent addition of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Finishing third in the French League last season showcases their success and potential. With a well-experienced squad, they are poised to navigate through the UEFA Champions League qualifiers successfully.
PSV Eindhoven: Despite losing Xavier Simmons, PSV, who secured the second position in the Eredivisie league, remains a strong contender to return to the prestigious European competition.
Shakhtar Donetsk: No stranger to the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, Shakhtar consistently advances to the group stage. Their history of delivering impressive performances against top clubs makes the qualifiers seem effortless for the Ukraine-based team.
Dinamo Zagreb: Dominating the Croatian League with ease, Dinamo Zagreb’s recent return to the Champions League and their impressive performances in the third qualifying rounds make them one of the five certain teams to qualify for the group stage.
Galatasaray: Assembling a formidable team with the acquisitions of Wilfred Zaha and Mauricio Icardi, Galatasaray is set to compete on the grandest stages. Their potential impact in Europe is highly anticipated.
In conclusion, the above-mentioned teams, according to FBR’s expert analysts, are likely to progress from the ongoing UEFA Champions League 2023/24 qualifiers. The qualifiers are just a taste of the exciting actions that await football fans when the Champions League commences for the 2023/24 season.