Latvia in Europe: 2024/25 Coefficient Preview

1The 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.

This is now the 41st article in this coefficient preview series, where we focus on Latvia. Here is a look at what we can expect from the Baltic nation in Europe next season.

Latvia in Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)1.625 (42nd)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)10.625 (37th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)8.375 (38th)

It was a rather poor 2023/24 season for Latvian clubs in Europe from a coefficient standpoint. While both Riga FC and Valmiera made the third qualifying round of the Conference League, RFS lost in Q2 despite being the seeded team. Unsurprisingly, Auda fell in UECL Q2, but collecting just 1.625 points saw them finish 37th in the five-year coefficient ranking, and it could have been worse.

Now Latvia heads into 2024/25 holding onto 38th place. The country is 1.250 points behind Ireland for 33rd place. That is a deficit that can be caught, but it will take big performances from all four Latvian clubs. Of course, Latvia will still have an eye on the countries below them as they would not want to drop out of the top 38. However, if the Virslīga clubs all play their part, this will be a good year for Latvian football in Europe.

Latvia 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 (%)
RFSDomestic ChampionUCL Q16UECL Q28.0004.250 (40%)
Riga FCCup WinnerUECL Q2, Main Path7UECL Q311.0003.125 (29.41%)
AudaDomestic Third PlaceUECL Q12UECL Q22.1250.125 (1.18%)
LiepājaDomestic Fifth PlaceUECL Q17N/A4.5001.250 (11.76%)

RFS made the most of Riga FC’s slip on the final day to win their second title in three seasons. That allows them back into the Champions League first qualifying round. After making the Conference League proper in 2021/22, the aim for the club will be to return there for this term. UCL Q1 will be crucial for RFS, as if they make the most of their seeded status and advance, they will just need one more tie to secure league phase football. That makes July’s Q1 games key.

Riga FC lost out on the title, but at least they won a trophy last term. They topped RFS in the Latvian Cup final, prevailing on penalties. Qualifying for UECL Q2, Riga FC has made Q3 or the playoff round in Europe in each of the last five summers, highlighting just how close they are to making the main rounds. They will be seeded in both Q2 and Q3, which could give them a shot at sneaking to the UECL proper.

Qualifying for Europe for the second year running, Auda backed up their 2022 Latvian Cup success by finishing third in the Virslīga last term. They will be unseeded in UECL Q1, making things more challenging. However, the side from Ķekava will try to learn from last summer’s experience to return to Q2 this time around.

After Valmiera lost their UEFA license, it is Liepāja, who finished fifth last term, who takes the last continental spot, returning to Europe after missing out last season. It will be their seventh European journey, all of which have come within the last decade. They have never made it past Q2 in Europe, losing in that round across both of their previous UECL appearances. Liepāja will again be seeded in UECL Q1, but given their nightmarish start to the league season, an improvement will be needed with haste.

Latvia’s Season Ambitions 

The aim of the season is pretty clear for Latvia: to end up in the top 33. They will most certainly not be the only country to say so, but this is a crucial year for them. Of course, having a team in the Conference League – most likely RFS again – is also key to their success in Europe this term. If they can achieve that, then the goal of 33rd spot becomes a realistic possibility.

From a coefficient standpoint, Latvia should really be aiming for about 3.000 points. That is an ambitious number, but doable. A team making the Conference League proper will go a long way to pulling off that number. Of course, if Latvia can get around 3.000 points, then 33rd spot becomes a realistic possibility. Anything less makes that task a lot more arduous.

What a Successful Season Looks Like for Latvia

Success for Latvia this season would be to get a team in the league phase. On top of that, if all four teams progressed at least once, that would also mark a very good year for Latvian football. Moreover, if Riga FC can make the most of their seeding in the UECL draws, then a playoff round appearance in the UECL would bring further success.

Coefficient-wise, at least 2.500 points are required for this to be a good season for Latvia. Anything less would not have to be seen as a failure, and could very well see the country fall out of the top 38. That is the last thing they could use right now, so getting a minimum of 2.500 points makes it a good campaign for Latvia.

What to Expect From Latvia in 2024/25

After a poor 2023/24 season, can we reasonably expect Latvia to compete for a place in the top 33 this time around? Speaking with the Virslīga president, Maksims Krinuvecs, he is already excited for what is to come.

“The UEFA Club Competitions qualifying rounds are always an exciting time,” said Krinuvecs. “It’s a period when we can measure our domestic level against other teams and leagues. It allows us to understand whether we are developing football effectively and if our policies, procedures, and formats are benefiting our clubs and players.” This is key for countries like Latvia, who is much lower down in the totem pole.

“Naturally, we want to be as high as possible in the UEFA (coefficient) rankings because a higher position brings multiple benefits, not only in terms of the access list, but also through UEFA solidarity payments for non-participating clubs,” continued Krinuvecs, highlighting the importance of the coefficient rankings. “To grow, we need to aim for the league phase.”

Looking towards this summer and what we can expect from Latvia’s clubs, Krinuvecs believes the Riga-based teams could have another really good year. “The champions path offers the opportunity to fail once or even twice (provided RFS passes the Q1), which is a significant advantage,” states the league’s president.

“I believe Riga FC can qualify for the league stage via the Main Path. Of course, the teams draw and other multiple factors are very important. FC Vaduz will always be a great example for me, demonstrating how a team from the second division can reach the group stage while playing against very strong opponents.” maksims krinuvecs

The question now is, can Latvia have a big summer and land a top 33 spot? It is not so simple. While RFS and Riga FC will be the main perpetrators, it must be noted that there are several other countries involved in this race with some strong teams.

Keeping that in mind, we can expect Latvia to finish in the top 38 minimum, but given their starting position, 33rd looks a step too far. It would require a brilliant year, which while Latvia could have another strong year, it will probably not be enough for 33rd spot. Still, they could prove everyone wrong. The ball gets rolling in less than a month, making things interesting for Latvian football in Europe.

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