Bulgaria 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 occurring next week, 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. We will explore what is on the line from a coefficient standpoint, and the keys to succeeding, in that country’s case.

Article number 34 in this preview series focuses on Belarus. Here is a look at what to expect from the Bulgarian clubs in Europe next term.

Bulgaria in Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)4.375 (23rd)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)20.375 (27th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)16.250 (27th)

Bulgaria, as well the countries in from 23rd or lower in UEFA’s five-year country rankings, are facing a very fascinating 2024/25 season. One spot in the top 22 of the coefficient table is available, and Bulgaria is one of seven countries involved. Seeing that the seven countries are within 2.500 points of each other, we are in for a fun battle.

As has been the case for several years, it looks like only one club will be earning the coefficient points for Bulgaria this year, and that club is Ludogorets. However, if we see a repeat of most seasons where the side from Razgrad collects (almost) all the points, then Bulgaria will stand little chance in this race. The question is, who will help Ludo this time around?

Bulgaria in Europe: Club Profile

ClubQualified AsRound of EntryTotal European SeasonsLast Season’s Performance5-Year Club Coefficient (2023/24)5-Year Country Coefficient Contribution, 2023/24 (%)
LudogoretsDomestic ChampionUCL Q113UECL Knockout Round Playoffs26.00011.625 (57.1%)
Botev PlovdivCup WinnerUEL Q110N/A4.0750.125 (0.6%)
Cherno MoreDomestic Runner-upUECL Q2, Main Path4N/A4.075N/A
CSKA 1948 SofiaDomestic Play-off Tournament WinnerUECL Q2, Main Path2UECL Q24.0750.000 (0%)

Ludogorets won the league for the 13th time in a row last term, currently the longest streak in Europe. Despite a slow start, they went on to comfortably defend their title in the end. They start their European season in the first qualifying round of the Champions League once again. As for their European performance in 2023/24, they reached the knockout round playoffs before losing to Servette. They will want to do better this time though, as they were stunned in UCL qualifying by Olimpija Ljubljana last summer.

Botev Plovdiv denied Ludo another domestic double after winning the Bulgarian Cup. That allows Botev to play in Europe again after missing out last term. Back in 2022/23, they lost to APOEL in UECL Q2, which was the first time since 1993/94 that Botev did not progress from at least one European tie in a season. They have been one of Bulgaria’s better teams in Europe, which could come in handy this summer. They will partake in UEL Q1, giving them two chances at winning another tie.

Nine years on from their last appearance, Cherno More is back in Europe after finishing second. They held off CSKA-Sofia to claim the runners-up spot. Their best continental showing came in their maiden attempt, where they reached round one of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup (the present-day playoff round). If they could do one better this summer, that would go a long way for Bulgaria’s coefficient.

CSKA 1948 Sofia will be back in Europe for the second year running. Despite finishing eighth in the regular season, they managed to finish top of Bulgaria’s midtable playoffs, before topping CSKA-Sofia in a play-in match to join Cherno More in UECL Q2. They lost their only previous European tie last summer, but will try to do better this time around.

Bulgaria Season Ambitions

The ambition for Bulgaria this term, as previously mentioned, is to finish 22nd. Anything less than leaves this season unfulfilled. It will be a particularly tall order for Bulgaria, looking at who is in Europe for them this season. Some of the other countries in the race, namely Romania, Sweden, and Cyprus, will have a glorious chance of having multiple teams in a league phase. If Bulgaria cannot keep up with that, then not even Ludogorets can save them.

As for what Bulgaria should aim for from a coefficient perspective, the country has consistently been getting somewhere in the 4.000-point region. That will not be enough this season. Getting to 5.000 should be seen as a good year for Bulgaria, but ideally they should be pushing for about 6.000 points.

What a Successful Year Would Look Like for Bulgaria

A good year for Bulgaria would see Ludogorets get some substantial help. Between Botev Plovdiv, Cherno More, and CSKA 1948 Sofia, if they can contribute at least 1.500 points, that should be seen as a good thing. More ideally, if one of those three teams can make the UECL league phase, then that would be very ideal. Of course, they will not have to worry about Ludogorets, who will almost surely pick up around 3.500 points for Bulgaria alone.

A successful year for Bulgaria regarding coefficient points won has to be better than the normal 4.000-point haul. A success would have to be at least 5.000 points, as anything less has to be seen as a disappointment.

What to Expect from Bulgaria in 2024/25

Bulgaria will have their work cut out for them in the coefficient battle this year. There should be pessimism in their hopes for 22nd spot, given the lack of help Ludogorets will likely get.

Speaking with Bulgarian football expert Kai Iliev, he expects more of the same from the country this season. “I only see Ludogorets advancing (in qualifying) if they drop down to the Conference League,” says Iliev, setting the bar low. When talking about the other three teams, he was even less hopeful. “Honestly don’t see anyone making (league phase) besides Ludo.” While mentioning that Cherno More could become a European regular in a few years, he expects them “to focus on the league to consolidate their status.”

If an expert on Bulgarian football has no hope for the country’s club in Europe this term, why should we? After all, expecting a club that has picked up more than 50% of Bulgaria’s coefficient points to do all the dirty work  is not always a great plan. Realistically, we can expect the same thing as usual from the Bulgarian clubs, so they will not really have a chance in this race for 22nd spot.

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