Who is in?
The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious European competition on offer to clubs in their domestic leagues, and with one game to go, there are still several clubs unsure whether they will qualify for next season’s iteration of the competition.
Manchester City and Manchester United have both confirmed their status in the Champions League for next season with two games to play. Beneath these sides, however, there is a three-horse race for the final two positions. FA cup winners Leicester City sit in third at present, but travel to Stamford Bridge to take on fourth-placed Chelsea on Tuesday.
A win for Leicester would confirm their Champions League qualification for next year, whilst a draw would leave their fate in their own hands. For Chelsea, a win would keep their hopes alive, whilst a loss would leave their fate in the hands of fifth-placed Liverpool, who are looking to take advantage of slip-ups from either side.
After a poor season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, Liverpool remain well in the hunt for the Champions League places, and provided they win their last two games, will be playing in Europe’s top competition next season, at the expense of Chelsea or Leicester.
Over in France, only the top three sides qualify for the Champions League, two of which are assured. LOSC Lille and PSG will certainly be playing in Europe’s top midweek competition next season, but the final place remains up for grabs. Monaco, current occupiers of third place, sit just one point clear of Lyon, with one game to play for each side.
It means that Monaco cannot afford to slip up in their final game, against sixth-placed Lens. If they were to win, they would be assured Champions League football next season; drop points, however, and they would be reliant on Lyon matching their result to qualify.
In Spain, four places were up for grabs heading into the season, and those were all settled conclusively several games ago. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla will all be playing Champions League football next season, with the gap to any challengers a whopping fifteen points. Attention turns to the League winners in Spain, with Atletico needing just a draw from their final game to be crowned champions for the first time since the 2013/14 season.
In the Bundesliga too, the Champions League participants are confirmed with one game left to go. Wolfsberg and Borussia Dortmund will join RB Leipzig and champions Bayern Munich in representing Germany next season. It seemed at one point that Dortmund would miss out, however five wins on the bounce (a record unmatched in the Bundesliga) have meant that they qualified without having to sweat on final day results.
We’re in. pic.twitter.com/JMoZngJPyV
— DFB-POKAL CHAMPIONS 2021 (@BlackYellow) May 16, 2021
Italy is perhaps the tightest league with regards to Champions League qualification for next season. Inter Milan, title winners this season, will certainly be there, however they are the only club safely qualified before the final day of the season. Juventus, sitting in fifth place currently, will qualify if they win their final game, while second-placed Atalanta play fourth-placed AC Milan on the final day of the season, with the loser probably dropping out of the qualification spots. You can see all the final day permutations here.
Lots still to play for:
With just one game to play in four of the top five leagues, there is plenty still to play for. In Spain and France, the title is still up for grabs, whilst France, England and Italy all have Champions League spots available for anyone who can hold their nerve heading into the final game of the season.