Portugal 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 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, explore what is on the line from a coefficient standpoint, and the keys to succeeding, in that country’s case.

This is the 11th country of the series, where we take a look at Portugal and discuss what to expect from them in 2024/25.

Portugal In Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)11.000 (9th)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)56.316 (28th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)47.216 (7th)

For the first time since the 2020/21 season, Portugal starts a season with five teams in Europe. This comes after Netherlands took sixth place from them at the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign. As the Dutch also finished sixth last term, Portugal will have five teams in Europe for the next two years minimum.

With that said, having only five teams in Europe could be a blessing in disguise for Portugal. The reforms for the UEFA club competitions suit the Portuguese clubs to the tee, and this season could prove that. Representing Portugal next term will be the five clubs with the most European seasons. Everything is shaping up for a very good year for Portuguese clubs.

Portugal 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 (%)
Sporting CPDomestic ChampionUCL League Phase64UEL Round of 1654.50010.400 (18.47%}
BenficaDomestic Runner-upUCL League Phase64UEL Quarterfinals79.00015.683 (27.85%)
PortoCup WinnerUEL League Phase63UCL Round of 1677.00014.533 (25.81%)
Sporting BragaDomestic Fourth PlaceUEL Q226UEL Knockout Round Play-offs49.00010.933 (19.41%)
Vitória de GuimarãesDomestic Fifth PlaceUECL Q2, Main Path22UECL Q211.2632.483 (4.41%)

Sporting CP won the league title for the second time in four years last season. That saw them earn the country’s automatic Champions League spot for the 2024/25 campaign. Since a shock elimination in the Europa League playoff round to LASK four summers ago, Sporting has reached the last 16 or better in the Europa League. There will be no Europa League football for them this year, meaning they will have to step it up in the UCL.

Benfica will join their local rivals in the UCL proper. This is due to Atalanta occupying two UCL spots: one as the fourth place finisher in the Serie A, and one as the UEL holders. The former spot was vacated, and since Benfica had the highest five-year club coefficient of the teams in UCL qualifying, they were promoted to the league phase, instead of entering the third qualifying round. As Águias have been eliminated in the quarterfinal stage of a European competition in their last three seasons, which has been very helpful for the coefficient.

Porto won the Portuguese Cup to go with their third place finish. That sees in them enter the UEL’s new league phase. In five of the last six years, Porto has made the round of 16 or quarterfinals of the UCL or UEL. That shows an incredible level of consistency, something many teams across of Europe would be envious of. Should Dragões keep that streak going in the UEL this season, it could result in a big year for Portugal’s coefficient.

Sporting Braga finished fourth once again, something they have gotten used to. That sees them start in UEL Q2. Across the last seven years, they have made the knockout rounds of Europe six times. The exception came in 2018/19, when they were surprisingly eliminated in UEL Q3 by Zorya Luhansk. Like the other Portuguese top clubs, Braga regularly plays springtime European football, which should not be ignored.

Vitória SC takes Portugal’s UECL Q2 place after a fifth place finish. That will see them enjoy continental football for the third year running. The last team from outside of Portugal’s ‘Big 4’ to qualify for the main round of a European competition was Vitória, five years ago. Since then, they failed in qualifying twice, including a UECL Q2 elimination to Slovenia’s Celje. As they are seeded throughout UECL qualifying this summer, now is the time for Vitória to make the most of that and return to the league phase.

Portugal’s Season Ambitions

Portugal starts this season more than 6.500 points behind Netherlands for sixth place, and about 6.000 points ahead of eighth place Belgium. Realistically, they should not worry about being passed by Belgium. However, the likelihood of them taking over Netherlands for sixth is also very low.

As a result, the aim for Portugal will be to start making up the difference between them and Netherlands, while also further distancing themselves from Belgium. There is no better time for Portugal to do this than now. Should all five teams make a league phase, then challenging for a European Performance Spot could also be on the horizon.

What a Successful Season Would Look Like for Portugal

The very first thing for Portugal to have a successful season is to have all their teams in a league phase. When that occurred in 2019/20, Portugal finished sixth in the seasonal coefficient. If that happens again, the five Portuguese clubs will have 36-38 league phase matches. That is plenty of chances for points.

From there, anything can happen. The ‘Big 4’ will expect to make the knockout rounds. If Vitória can join the top clubs in the UECL knockouts, then this will be a very successful year for the Portuguese coefficient.

What to Expect From the Portuguese Clubs in 2024/25

While there is some serious potential for Portugal to have a phenomenal year of over 15.000 points, Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert is not confident on Vitória adding much to the coefficient. “There is a realization that Portugal’s 4 top teams can compete well in Europe,” says Kundert when describing the clubs outside of the top clubs. “But the drop-off in quality to the rest is very big, so there is not a great deal of hope the country can recover its ranking (of sixth spot).”

There is some truth to what Kundert is saying, as no Portuguese team has managed to qualify directly for the UECL. They are the only country in the top 30 of UEFA’s five-year country coefficient not to have won any points in the UECL from the group stage on. While more points are available in the UCL and UEL, it does say something about the smaller Portuguese clubs since five have tried and failed to make the main rounds.

Kundert highlights why the smaller Portuguese clubs fail in Europe so often: “The (biggest) problem is the lack of competitiveness of Portugal’s lesser clubs.” This seems very apparent, as both Vitória and Arouca were eliminated as seeded teams at the first hurdle of UECL qualifying.

Portugal can very easily succeed this year, and there has to be reason for optimism. Given the expansion of spots in the UECL proper, there are more opportunities for Vitória to make the league phase.

Overall, the Portuguese “Big 4” should win a considerable amount of points, which will likely help Portugal to close the gap on Netherlands for sixth. Be successful with that, and they will be in a great position going into the 2025/26 season.

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