The qualifying rounds and group stages of the 2022-23 UEFA club competitions are out of the way. As 2023 commences, here is a look back at what the Bundesliga clubs have done in the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League. Each of the eight teams will be discussed. Then, a look at what it means for Germany as a whole from a coefficient perspective.
Bundesliga clubs in the Champions League
For the first time in this millennium, a team qualified for Europe solely via continental performance and not domestically. Despite finishing 11th in the previous Bundesliga campaign, Frankfurt’s Europa League title in May gifted them an automatic Champions League spot. Not since Schalke in 1996-97 has a team won a UEFA club competition and not qualify for Europe domestically.
With that, Germany has eight teams in Europe this season instead of their usual seven. Many didn’t have Frankfurt finishing in the top two of their Champions League group, where they faced Spurs, Sporting CP and Marseille. Yet, after a 3-0 reverse at home to the Portuguese side, Die Adler turned it around, winning 1-0 at Marseille, 2-1 at home against the same opponents, and, most crucially, came from a goal down on matchday 6 against Sporting to go through in second spot.
Oliver Glasner’s men earned 16.000 coefficient points as a result of their Champions League showing. That takes their total up to 77.000 over the last five seasons. Up next in the round of 16 is a very impressive Napoli team.
The six-time champions of this competition were dealt a heavy hand during the group stage draw. Grouped with Barcelona, Internazionale and Viktoria Plzen, fans thought they would see a proper group of death. Instead, the group was decided with a round to spare.
For the second season running and the third in the last four, Bayern won all six of their group games. Keeping clean sheets in five of their six outings, there was simply no stopping the German giants. Starting off with 2-0 wins at home to Inter and at Barcelona, Die Roten stepped it up with a 5-0 thrashing of Viktoria Plzen at home. Conceding their only two goals of the group stage in the return match, Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern would win 4-2 in Czechia. A 3-0 win at Barca and a 2-0 home win over Inter closed out the group stage for them.
As a result of their perfect record so far, no other team in Europe matches or betters Bayern’s 21.000 coefficient points earned in the fall. It leaves them just 1.000 point behind Manchester City for top spot in the five-year club coefficient ranking. Claiming a seventh European Cup would most likely see them end the season number one. However, they will be in tough against PSG in a repeat of the 2019/20 final. This tie will surely be one for the ages.
The 1996-97 winners had a decent group on paper as they faced Manchester City, Sevilla and FC København. It always looked as if it would be between Die Schwarzgelben and Sevilla for second spot, but it barely went that way.
Topping København 3-0 to kick off their group stage campaign, Dortmund fell 2-1 at City, before bouncing back in style. They hammered Sevilla 4-1 away, putting themselves in a commanding position to move on. A pair of draws (1-1 versus Sevilla and 0-0 against City) were enough to give Dortmund second place and a berth in the last 16. A 1-1 draw at København ended group play.
Currently sitting 12th in the five-year coefficient on 84.000 points, Dortmund has won 16.000 this season. Their round of 16 opponent is Chelsea, consequently, a first-ever meeting between the two clubs in Europe.
The only one of Germany’s five Champions League sides not to finish in the top two of their group, Leverkusen has had a rather turbulent season, leading to the sacking of Gerardo Seaone at the start of October. Grouped with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge, there was always the feeling that Die Werkself had a chance in this group if they applied themselves.
They started things off with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Club Brugge before bouncing back to claim their only win, 2-0 over Atletico Madrid. A pair of losses to Porto (2-0 away, 3-0 at home) followed, before barely holding on for a 2-2 draw against the Spanish club. A goalless affair with Club Brugge on the last matchday saw Leverkusen pip Atleti for third spot on head-to-head. That allows them to continue their European campaign in the Europa League.
So far, Leverkusen has earned just 8.000 coefficient points this season, where they sit in 25th place in the five-year ranking with 61.000 points. In the Europa League knockout playoffs, they will take on AS Monaco, who like Die Werkself, finished third in their domestic league last season.
Playing in their fifth Champions League group stage in six years, Die Roten Bullen had to face holders Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic. Like Leverkusen, it was a rocky start to the season for Leipzig, which led to some changes early on.
Following a stunning 4-1 reverse at home to Shakhtar, Domenico Tedesco was relieved of his duties, replaced by Marco Rose. Things did not change right away for Leipzig, who fell 2-0 to Real Madrid in their next Champions League match. They would not drop any more points after that, winning each of their final four games. A 3-1 home win and 2-0 away success – both versus Celtic – were followed by a narrow 3-2 victory over Real, before they hit Shakhtar for four in a dominant display.
Finishing second in Group F, Leipzig moved on and will face Manchester City in the next round. Their group stage showing got them 17.000 points in total, bringing their five-year tally to 83.000, which is 13th in Europe.
Bundesliga clubs in the Europa League
Playing in their third ever European campaign, Union Berlin returned to the Europa League for the first time in two decades. This time, they were playing in the group stage, joined by Sporting Braga, Malmö, and Union St. Gilloise.
Remarkably, all six of Die Eisernen’s group games ended 1-0. They started off with a defeat in Germany to the Belgian Union, then falling again, this time away to Braga. Union Berlin would go on to win their remaining four group games, like Leipzig in the Champions League. They did the double over Malmö before crucially beating both Braga and USG to pip the Portuguese side for second spot.
Regardless of the outcome against Ajax in the knockout round playoffs, this will be Union Berlin’s best ever European return. The capital club will be partaking in springtime football for the first time. They have earned 10.000 coefficient points, totalling to 15.000 in the five-year ranking.
After almost capturing their first major trophy last May, Freiburg is back in Europe following an impressive Bundesliga campaign. They were handed something of a tricky group, where the Breisgau-Brasilianer were the only team in the section not to have won a trophy last season. Olympiakos Piraeus, Qarabag, and Nantes were the opponents.
Christian Streich’s side would go on to win their opening four games, outscoring their opponents 11-1 in that stretch. They had already secured a top two finish after those four matches. A 1-1 draw at home to the Greek champions confirmed top spot for Freiburg. A 1-1 stalemate with Qarabag in the last fixture capped off an impressive group showing.
As a result of winning their group, the Breisgau-Brasilianer avoids the knockout round playoffs, instead playing in the round of 16. They will find out their opponent in late February. As for coefficients, they picked up 15.000 points for their trouble so far, which is also their five-year coefficient.
Bundesliga clubs in the Europa Conference League
In what is Die Geißböcke’s first European campaign since 2017/18, they became the second German team to partake in the Europa Conference League. Starting at the playoff round, they reversed a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Fehervar of Hungary, beating them 3-0 in the decider to move on.
In the group stage, Köln was handed what many considered to be the group of death. Joining them in Group D were Partizan Belgrade, Nice and Slovacko. The section proved to live up to its billing, with constant drama everywhere. Köln won both of their matches against Slovacko, drew both times versus Nice and lost both fixtures with Partizan. Despite all of that, Die Geißböcke’s eight points were not enough to see them progress, failing at this stage just as Union Berlin did a year ago.
Köln will depart from European football this season having earned 6.000 coefficient points. They are the only one of the initial eight Bundesliga European representatives not to have progressed from the groups.
German coefficients in 2022/23
Across the eight Bundesliga clubs in Europe this season, they managed to accrue an overall record of 27-10-13. Those 27 wins are only bettered by England’s 34, despite there being only seven Premier League teams.
In terms of coefficient points won on the year, Germany is also second in that department. Midway through the European campaign, the seasonal coefficient for German football stands 13.750. Currently, they are nearly 3.000 back of England and a little over 1.000 ahead of Spain. Looking at the five-year country ranking, Germany has a total 79.106 points, seeing them stay in third spot. They took over third over Italy at the start of the season.
The Champions League adopting a new format from the 2024/25 campaign. It will see the inclusion of coefficient-based spots in the group stage. Germany will likely be in the running for a fifth Champions League place and eighth European spot regularly. Starting next season, the two countries with the best seasonal coefficient will earn an extra European place for the Champions League group stage. If the season ended right now, Germany would be getting one of those spots resulting from the eight clubs’ performances.
Seven of the eight Bundesliga clubs that started in Europe still are in Europe. This provides an excellent chance for German football to continue collect coefficient points. Maybe, just maybe, one of Frankfurt, Bayern, Dortmund, Leverkusen, Leipzig, Union or Freiburg can win a(nother) European trophy.