North Macedonia in Europe: 2024/25 Season 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.

We have reached the 40th article of the preview series, North Macedonia will be the topic. Here is what to expect from the country next season.

North Macedonia in Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)1.500 (45th)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)6.000 (50th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)5.500 (48th)

North Macedonia managed to climb out of the bottom five of UEFA’s five-year country coefficient last summer. That will see them return to having four teams in Europe for the 2025/26 campaign. However, for this term, there will only be three sides representing the country in Europe. Among those three includes a European debutant.

While North Macedonia will not be in the bottom five to start the year – and it is rather unlikely they will be there come season’s end – there is still a bit of work to do on their end. Their five-year coefficient to commence 2024/25 is 5.500, just under 0.800 points ahead of Montenegro. So, Struga, Tikves and Shkëndija will have their work cut out for them to confirm North Macedonia’s place in the top 50.

North Macedonia 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 (%)
StrugaDomestic ChampionUCL Q13UECL Play-off Round3.5001.000 (16.67%)
TikvesCup WinnerUECL Q1DebutN/A1.200N/A
ShkëndijaDomestic Runner-upUECL Q113UECL Q18.0002.625 (43.75%)

It was a thrilling title race in North Macedonia, as three teams went neck-and-neck to win. When the dust settled, it was Struga who ended up on top. That saw them defend the title, resulting in their return to the UCL Q1. It was also an excellent summer for Struga in 2023, as they reached the playoff of the Conference League before losing to Breiðablik. They will aim for a similar run this time.

Tikves will make their continental bow after defeating Voska Sport in the cup final. The last time North Macedonia had a European debutant was in 2021/22 with Struga, who lost in UECL Q1. Tikves will have to take inspiration from Turnovo, who is the last North Macedonian team to win their first tie in Europe. That was 11 years ago, with Tikves now having the chance to change that.

Joining Tikves in UECL Q1 is Shkëndija, who has joined Rabotnički on 13 European participations. Last summer was disappointing though, as their UECL Q1 elimination to Haverfordwest County ended a run of seven seasons in a row in which they won at least one qualifying round. They will look to shake that off as they returned as a seeded team.

North Macedonia’s Season Ambitions

North Macedonia’s goal for the year will simply be to ensure they do not end up being dragged into the bottom five. Given the gap between North Macedonia and Montenegro, the former really should not be involved in this race at all. But, there is still work to be done just to be absolutely sure.

From a seasonal coefficient perspective, North Macedonia should be aiming for at least 1.500 points, a total they reached last summer. In fact, in two of the last three campaigns, they managed to match that total, or better it. This is a feasible task for North Macedonia, and if they achieve it, they will be in a much better place.

What a Good Year Would Look Like for North Macedonian Football

From a performance point of view, if a North Macedonian club can make UECL Q3, then it is already a good year. That gives Struga and Shkëndija a legitimate shot, with the latter being seeded for the first two rounds of UECL qualifying. Anything Tikves collects for the country coefficient – if they collect anything – has to be seen as a bonus. But, between Struga and Shkëndija, making UECL Q3 has to be considered a success.

For North Macedonia to succeed with their coefficient haul, they should be happy with the 1.500 points mentioned. That is a good year for them, although anything over 2.000 points would make it an excellent campaign. Anything less than 1.500 is in essence a failure, so it is all or nothing for North Macedonia.

What to Expect from North Macedonia 2024/25

North Macedonia had a good summer in 2023. We can reasonably expect the same to continue this time around. As previously mentioned, Struga and Shkëndija will have the responsibility of carrying the North Macedonian coefficient.

Balkan football expert Richard Wilson also weighed in on what we can expect from North Macedonia, and he feels there is reason to the country not to worry. “The advantages they have is that Shkendija and Struga class as two of the less welcome early draws in terms of atmosphere,” explains Wilson. “Even if Tikves do fail to trouble the coefficient, the 1.500 points from 23/24 should be achievable.”

However, Wilson expects even more from Struga and Shkëndija. “Success for the nation this time around is seeing Struga and Shkendija reaching the third rounds of qualifying – anything beyond that and anything added by Tikves is a bonus,” he says. “Meeting that will keep them solidly clear of the bottom five.”

While the title race was very exciting, the Balkan football expert does not see it equivocate to continental success.

“What it hasn’t done is translated into sides improving their competitiveness on a wider scale. Arguably, the rise of sides like Struga and Shkupi over the past few seasons is indication that that system has worked to promote new power bases within the league beyond Vardar, who last reached Europe in 2018/19.” Richard wilson

Without European regular Shkupi, things become a lot more challenging for the country. For reference, Shkupi has been ever-present in Europe in recent years. It is therefore no surprise that they have contributed 1.375 to North Macedonia’s five-year coefficient, which is 23% of the points. Losing them is not easy, and could be a difference-maker here.

Overall, expect a comfortable year for North Macedonia. About 1.500 should be expected from them again this season, where they will finish inside the top 50. Climbing up the ranking would be an added bonus, albeit a welcomed one for years to come.

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