Lithuania 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 less than 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. We will explore what is on the line from a coefficient standpoint, and the keys to succeeding, in that country’s case.

We are now in the 13th piece of this preview series, where we will take a look at the clubs from Lithuania.

Lithuania In Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)1.125 (49th)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)8.500 (44th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)6.875 (43rd)

It was a rather dismal showing from Lithuania in the 2023/24 campaign, where they only managed to pick up 1.125 coefficient points and two wins across 16 matches. Things will have to improve very quickly this season to avoid dropping even further than 43rd place.

Moreover, Lithuania starts this term just 1.500 points back of fellow Baltic nation Latvia, who holds that coveted 38th spot. While it will be difficult to catch Latvia, as well as other countries between the two, Lithuania can certainly make a push for a top 38 place as well. They will not be favourites to end up that high, but there is the opportunity for a decent year form the Lithuanian sides.

Lithuania 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 (%)
PanevėžysDomestic ChampionUCL Q14UECL Q24.0000.625 (7.35%)
TransINVESTCup WinnerUECL Q2, Main PathDebutN/A1.700N/A
Žalgiris VilniusDomestic Runner-upUECL Q124UECL Play-off Round11.5004.000 (47.06%)
ŠiauliaiDomestic Third PlaceUECL Q13N/A1.700N/A

Panevėžys won the league title for the first time last year. In what is their third European season, all in a row, Panevėžys has held their own. They have a 1-3-4 continental record all-time, but they have never lost by more than two goals. Having eliminated Moldova’s Milsami Orhei a year ago, the club has reason to believe they can pull off a scalp in UCL Q1.

TransINVEST won the cup last year, despite being in the second division at the time. Things have not gone smoothly for them since making the step up to the A Lyga. As a result, it will be difficult to expect much from them in Europe. One of two Lithuanian sides to make their continental debut this summer, TransINVEST will be unseeded in UECL Q2, so they will have to hope for a kind draw.

Žalgiris finished second in the league last year, ending their three-year reign as Lithuanian champions. The club from the capital has reached the playoff round in the UECL in all three years of the tournament’s existence, going one farther in the 2022/23 season. As a result of their recent success, Žalgiris will be seeded throughout Conference League qualifying this summer, despite starting in Q1. That presents a massive opportunity for them to make the competition’s new league phase.

The other team who qualified for UEFA club competitions for the first time is Šiauliai. A third place finish, that saw them beat out Kauno Žalgiris and Hegelmann, the academy club will enter UECL Q1 in July. Like TransINVEST, Šiauliai is struggling in the league right now, which may not help them with confidence. Seeing that they could end up being in the relegation zone by the start of UECL qualifying, that might make an impact on how the club performs in Europe.

Lithuania’s Season Ambitions

The ambition for Lithuania should be to challenge for 38th spot. Of all the countries ranked 38th or lower, none has a higher chance of having two teams in a league phase than Lithuania. It is incredibly rare to see a country so low have a team seeded throughout UECL qualifying, so Žalgiris better make the most of it.

Even if Lithuania cannot climb up the rankings even further, the other aim should be to distance themselves from the bottom five even further. The country has a modest amount of points to defend, so it should be a manageable task to avoid slipping any further down.

What a Successful Season Looks Like for Lithuania

A team in the UECL league phase should be seen as a success for Lithuanian football. However, this is a wonderful chance to have two teams in the UECL proper. Although Panevėžys is unseeded in UCL Q1, just getting past that round gives them three shots at qualifying for a league phase. Add that to Žalgiris’ seeding, and the aim of having at least one team in the UECL proper should be a success.

Any points won from TransINVEST and/or Šiauliai should be considered an added bonus, but if either or both of them advance to UECL Q3, that would already be considered a success. However, expecting that from the two debutants would be a lot.

What to Expect From Lithuania in 2024/25

Speaking to Roberto Pereira from Futebol Lituano, he believes that Žalgiris is the club most likely to contribute to the coefficient this summer. “Things did not work out on the field, (Panevėžys) is in second-to-last place in the Lithuanian League,” said Pereira when highlighting his concerns about the defending champion. “I believe that the team can improve a little, but I think it will be difficult to advance much in the UECL. It will depend a lot on having an easy opponent in the draw.”

A lot of pessimism is around the two debutants, with Pereira believing they will struggle. “I don’t expect a good campaign (from Šiauliai), but maybe they can win the home game, the fans are very excited about their European debut,” he said about Šiauliai, while pointing out that TransINVEST is “not an experienced team, and I don’t think they will do well in the UECL.”

There is truth to what Pereira is saying. It is a very all order to ask two debutants to help the coefficient that much, especially given their poor league form. Even Panevėžys, who is second from bottom in the A Lyga, will not be able to fully focus on their European commitments.

That puts all the pressure on Žalgiris, who will have to traverse through four rounds of UECL qualifying to make a league phase. They may be seeded throughout qualifying, but that hardly means anything. Just ask the likes of Basel, PAOK, and Dynamo Kyiv, who all were eliminated in UECL Q despite being seeded.

Overall, Lithuania will probably miss out on 38th spot. That looks to be a task too tall for them at the moment. However, if they can collect at least 1.500 points, which should still be manageable, then they will be in a better spot for the next season or two. That is something for Žalgiris in particular to keep in mind this summer.

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