I Was Told There Wouldn’t be Math: A Guide to the Coefficients Part 2

Last time we looked at the association coefficient and how it determines how many teams get into the two European contests. This time we’ll be looking at how seeding is determined in the Champions League and Europa League via the Club Coefficient. In other words “Why Bayern Munich got seeded in a higher pot then Borrussia Dortmond and Bayer 04 Leverkusen?

In the Champions League draw the 32 teams were divided up into 4 pots to keep the big name teams from drawing one another in the group stage, but how does UEFA decide who’s the powerful teams? In similar manner to who has the most powerful association. The Club Coefficient is based on how well the club has done over the last 5 seasons (that includes the current season). You also get 20% of your associations coefficient to help your score. Hence why Hannover 96 and Mainz 05 both had a fairly decent coefficient despite not having been involved in Europe in the last 4 season. To see where teams stand overall as well as countries you can go here to get all the point totals.

But the teams get points for wins, ties, qualifying for the next round, and even eliminations. This next part gets a little tricky. If you need a cheat sheet the easiest to understand one I’ve found is located here (on the right sidebar). Your team gets 4 bonus points for getting to the group stage of the Champions League. A team gets 2 points for qualifying for Europa League’s group stage.

For an example we’ll use Schalke 04’s 2010-11 Champions League campaign. (a simplified breakdown of how points were gained by Schalke is available here.)The Royal Blues have a club coefficient at the moment of 60.57, this is good enough for them to be 26th out of all the teams in Europe in the coefficient. 30.1332 of those points were gained in their surprising run last season. Schalke got 2nd place in the Bundesliga (in the 2009-10 season) thus they went directly to the group stage in the 2010-11 tournament. They got 4 bonus points right away, they then went on to top there group with 4 wins, 1 tie, and a loss. good for another 9 points. This meant they had reached the round of 16, good for another 4 bonus points. There they racked up a tie and a win over Valencia, and two surprise victories over Internazionale, only to be beaten in both rounds of the Semi-final by Manchester United. Each round after the round of 16 is good for a bonus point, plus their 3 victories and a tie were good for a total of 27 points. Which the receives a boost by getting 20% of Germany’s 15.666 points (3.1332).


So to make an extremely long explanation, short Bayern was able to be in Pot 1 due to consistency: being in Champions and Europa League every year for the past 5 years has given them what was supposed to be an easier draw then Bayer 04 Leverkusen (drawn into pot 3), and Borussia Dortmond (drawn into pot 4).

And the coefficents will be used in the next round as well. The teams who top their groups will be counted as a seeded team, the 2nd place teams will not be seeded. Each seeded team will be paired up with an unseeded team, and the tournaments continue. So there’s an advantage to taking your group but it is by no means a free pass to the Quarterfinals (Champions’ League) or the round of 16 (Europa League).  A great team might under preform, or get surprised by an upstart team and come through as an unseeded team. It doesn’t mean they won’t be trouble.

Well I hope this has helped, and that I haven’t confused anyone further. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time.

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  1. yes shalke 04 and hannover should’ve won their respective matches….
    mainz were eliminated by an inferior opposition, that really hurts me!

  2. Have you seen Italy’s coefficient? They’re really close to France’s right now. If PSG make a good run in the Europa League and maybe Lille or/and Lyon go to the last 16, they could threaten Serie A.

    Frankly, I think Inter will really bomb this season, so its a good sign for both German and French clubs to take the initiative: win, or draw, and advance to knock out rounds.

    Schalke and Hannover WTF they drew 0-0 to inferior opposition. Asleep still?

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