Azerbaijan in Europe: 2024/25 Coefficient Preview

The 2024/25 European season is quickly approaching, with 236 clubs set to compete in UEFA’s continental club competitions this season.

With the first qualifying round draws two weeks away, Extratime Talk will be providing a comprehensive coefficient preview. Between now and then, each country will be previewed, and all clubs participating in Europe for the 2024/25 season are discussed.

In these articles, we will provide analyses of what to expect from each country in Europe, explore what is on the line from a coefficient standpoint, and the keys to succeeding, in that country’s case.

For the ninth piece of this preview series, where Azerbaijan will be the country of focus.

Azerbaijan In Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)5.875 (17th)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)20.125 (28th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)16.750 (25th)

As has been the case for several years, Qarabağ carried the Azeri coefficient last season. But last year in particular, they really stepped up in that regard, reaching the round of 16 of the Europa League. After collecting a total of 5.875 points in the 2023/24 campaign, Azerbaijan starts the summer three places behind Russia in 22nd spot. Getting into the top 22 now suddenly looks attainable for Azerbaijan.

With that said, however, Qarabağ will likely be the one doing the heavy lifting once more. Them and Sabah Baku are the only two sides who were in Europe a year ago, putting extra pressure on them both. It is now a matter of what Sabah, along with Zirə and Sumqayıt, can do to contribute to the coefficient.

Azerbaijan In Europe: Club Profile

ClubQualified AsDomestic Third PlaceTotal European SeasonsLast Season’s Performance5-Year Club Coefficient (2023/24)5-Year Country Coefficient Contribution, 2023/24 (%)
QarabağDomestic ChampionDomestic Fourth Place20UEL Round of 1633.00015.250 (75.78%)
ZirəDomestic Runner-upUEL Q13N/A4.0250.125 (0.62%)
Sabah BakuDomestic Third PlaceUECL Q2, Main Path2UECL Q34.0250.750 (3.73%)
SumqayıtDomestic Fourth PlaceUECL Q2, Main Path3N/A4.0250.250 (1.24%)

For the third season running and the 10th out of the last 11, Qarabağ won the league title. They finished some 25 points behind their nearest challengers, showing the domination they have in the country. Having also competed in the Europa League knockout round for the first time, even progressing a round, it was a very successful year for Qarabağ. They start in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, and could wreak even more havoc this year.

Zirə finished second in both the league and cup, losing to Qarabağ in the final of the latter. It will be their third European adventure as a result. From their six previous European ties, Zirə won their first two, but has not done so since (0-2-2). Starting in UEL’s first qualifying round, they may fancy their chances at earning a third continental win.

Sabah Baku lost out on Europa League football on head-to-head, with their third place finish seeing them return to the Conference League’s Q2 for the second year running. They did win three of their four qualifying round games last summer in what was their debut, beating RFS before falling on penalties to Partizan Belgrade. If Sabah can have an encore performance this summer, it could go a long way to helping Azerbaijan rise in the coefficient ranking.

Rounding out the Azeri quartet is Sumqayıt, who finished fourth. It will be their third season in continental play. Sumqayıt has never scored a goal in UEFA club competition from their three previous matches. Joining Sabah in UECL Q2 as an unseeded side, they could face another difficult opponent. As a result, whatever Sumqayıt does contribute to the Azeri coefficient, if anything, will likely be just a bonus.

Azerbaijan’s Season Ambitions

For Azerbaijan, the aim will be to finish in the top 22. They are in a group of seven countries where that will be a realistic ambition for 2024/25. Less than 2.000 points separate the septet, with Azerbaijan in the middle of the bunch. With everyone so tightly bunched together, there is a realistic chance for Azerbaijan to end up 22nd by season’s end.

Of the seven countries, Azerbaijan scored the most coefficient points last term, which should further push them to do the same this time around. If they do so, then maybe, just maybe, the Azeris will climb into 22nd spot.

What a Successful Season Would Look Like for Azerbaijan

Outside of the obvious of finishing 22nd, a successful season for Azeri football would be to get multiple clubs in the new league phase. This looks rather unlikely, as only Qarabağ will be seeded at any point of the qualifiers, but it is still an attainable goal. The expanded UCL qualifiers offer a second chance for Zirə in the UECL, which could become useful.

With Sabah doing so well last summer, that could be another reason for hope. They will have the same arduous task this summer as an unseeded team, but they have already shown that it can be done. Thus, Azeri fans can hope that Zirə and/or Sabah will be able to help Qarabağ earn some more coefficient points in what will be an enticing race for 22nd place.

What to Expect From the Azeri Clubs in 2024/25

It will be a tough ask from the Azeri clubs to end next season in 22nd place. There are two main reasons for this: an over-reliance on Qarabağ’s performances, and the impact of Neftçi missing out on Europe.

For the exception of Vaduz, no club has a higher percentage of points earned for their country coefficient over the last five years than Qarabağ’s 75.78%. That is alarmingly high. For some perspective, the four Azeri clubs playing in Europe this season combine for 16.375 points. All but 1.125 of those points come from Qarabağ. That is a very unhealthy position to be in, and may hamper Azerbaijan’s hopes of 22nd spot.

The other notable thing that will likely play a role is the absence of Neftçi, who went from second spot to fifth after the final round of play last season. They are the only other Azeri side outside of Qarabağ to have their own club coefficient, which would have made them seeded in both UEL Q1 and Q2, as well as UECL Q2 and Q3. Having them in Europe would have given Azerbaijan more reason to believe in a top 22 finish.

Thus, expect Azerbaijan to miss out on 22nd place. When involved in a battle like this one, having multiple teams in a league phase goes a long way to helping the coefficient. Other countries in this race have a much higher chance of achieving that key point than Azerbaijan. As a result, Qarabağ single-handedly pushing the Azeris to 22nd is rather unlikely.

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