The Champions League is ALREADY underway just 24 days after Liverpool’s triumph over Tottenham in Madrid… with Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps falling at the first hurdle
- Liverpool defeated Tottenham in an all-English Champions League final in June
- Just 24 days after that victory, next season’s competition is already underway
- In the first preliminary round of qualifying, Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps lost
- There are preliminary, first, second, third and play-off qualification rounds
It seems impossible to think that next year’s Champions League campaign has started, but, just 24 days after Liverpool beat Tottenham in Madrid, it’s underway once again.
The preliminary round included four clubs, two semi-finals and a final to determine which team makes it through to the qualifying stage.
The four sides were Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, FC Santa Coloma of Andorra, Tre Penne of San Marino and Feronikeli of Kosovo.
Liverpool won the Champions League 24 days ago, but the competition is underway again
Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps were defeated at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 to Kosovo’s Feronikeli
The semi-finals took place on Tuesday, with Lincoln Red Imps falling to a 1-0 defeat by Feronikeli, which dumped them out of the tournament at the first opportunity.
In the other tie, Santa Coloma beat Tre Penne 1-0. It means Santa Coloma and Feronikeli will now enter the final of the preliminary round and the winner will move on to the qualifying stage.
The qualifying round includes 32 teams, 31 seeded clubs and the winner of the preliminary final between Santa Coloma and Feronikeli.
The first qualifying round kicks off on July 9 and will see the likes of Celtic, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov in action.
Each winner of the two-leg ties will progress to the second round of qualifying – this stage then creates two paths. The Champions Path, for league winners, will see Copenhagen, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Dinamo Zagreb and APOEL enter the fray along with the 16 victors.
The League Path, for teams who did not win their league, will see Viktoria Plzen take on Olympiacos and PSV Eindhoven take on Basle in their own two-leg ties.
The winners of the 10 matches from the Champions Path and two from the League Path, all of which are set to take place between July 23 and 31, will then advance to the third qualifying round.
Dutch champions and Champions League semi-finalists Ajax still have to enter at round three
The 12 remaining teams from round two will then be joined by Ajax, PAOK, Porto, Dynamo Kyiv, Club Brugge, Krasnador, Istanbul Basaksehir and LASK to take part in the third round of qualifying, the draw for which will take place on July 22.
The final round will see those 20 teams whittled down to 10, while Young Boys and Slavia Prague also enter the fray. This stage, for which the fixtures will be drawn on August 5, will see six final games to determine who goes through to the Champions League proper.
The six winners of the play-off round will join the 26 teams already confirmed for the group stage to make 32, which will then be divided into eight groups of four.
It is then, when the first round of Champions League group games get underway on September 17, that Liverpool’s European title defence begins in earnest.