The qualifying rounds and group stages of the 2022-23 UEFA club competitions are out of the way. As we move into 2023, here is a look back at what the Serie A representatives did in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Europa Conference League. Each of the seven teams will be discussed, along with a look at what it means for Italy as a whole from a coefficient perspective.
Serie A in the Champions League
The Serie A holders are back in the Champions League for a second season running, looking to avoid a repeat of last campaign’s last place finish. This time around, the Rossoneri were pitted against Chelsea, RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
A 1-1 draw in Austria kicked things off, before they topped Dinamo at the San Siro. Both of their group stage defeats would follow, at the hands of Chelsea (3-0 away, 2-0 at home). Milan would bounce back in style though, ending the group stage with 4-0 successes away to Dinamo and then at home to Salzburg.
That would see Stefano Pioli’s men finishing second, qualifying for the UCL knockout stages for the first time since 2013-14. Tottenham Hotspur awaits the Rossoneri in the last 16, the same team they lost to at the same round in the 2010-11 season.
As for coefficients, Milan won 16.000 points so far this campaign. That has propelled them to 39th place in UEFA’s five-year club ranking with 42.000 points. The only way is up for Milan regarding coefficients, and a deep run in the knockouts will do them well.
Denied a second consecutive Scudetto in May, Inter had to settle for second. As for their Champions League group, they were in what most considered to be group of death. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen awaited the Nerazzurri.
After losing on matchday 1 at home to Bayern 2-0, they topped Plzen by the same score in Czechia. Inter then claimed their most important result of the group stage, defeating Barcelona 1-0 at home to put themselves in pole position. A dramatic last-minute goal denied them another victory against the Blaugrana, settling for a point in a wild 3-3 draw.
That seldom phased the three-time winners, hitting four past Plzen to guarantee second spot and a place in the last 16. They did lose the dead rubber game 2-0 at Bayern, but it mattered little. An intriguing battle with Porto awaits in the last 16. The two met at this very stage in the 2004-05 season, with Inter coming out on top 4-2 on aggregate.
Like their Milanese rivals, Inter racked up 16.000 points after the first half of the season. With 83.000 points in the five-year ranking, the Nerazzurri are up to 15th spot. There is more than enough time to increase that total.
One of the most impressive teams in Europe so far in 2022/23, Napoli made it look easy in their Champions League section, dominating against Liverpool, Ajax and Rangers. The current Serie A pacesetters had the best performance of any Italian team in Europe so far.
It started at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on matchday one, where they sent out a statement victory. Liverpool was the victim, as the Partenopei cruised to a 4-1 win. That was followed up with a 3-0 win over 10-men Rangers. Another huge result came, smashing Ajax 6-1 in Amsterdam. Napoli would win the reverse fixture 4-2, already in the knockout round at this point.
Another 3-0 defeat of Rangers set them up for a trip to Merseyside against a Liverpool side who also had progressed. Despite losing for the first time this season (2-0), it was not enough to knock Luciano Spalletti’s men off of top spot. Their next challenge in the Champions League comes in the form of Eintracht Frankfurt, the same side to knock them out of the 1994-95 UEFA Cup with a pair of 1-0 wins.
After their incredible group stage showing, Napoli picked up 19.000 points on the season. They are the only Serie A side to have won their group in the fall. The Partenopei now stands in 22nd spot in the five-year standings, with 75.000 points accumulated. There is still space for them to crack the top 20 before season’s end. They could even pass their next opponents Eintracht Frankfurt in the rankings should they progress.
In what was easily the worst performance from any of the Italian sides in Europe across the group stages, Juve initially would have expect to at least be in the Champions League knockout rounds. Grouped with PSG, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa, expectations were higher.
Starting with 2-1 losses away to PSG and then at home to Benfica, the Old Lady seemed to have partially redeemed themselves with a 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa. Little did anyone know that it would be their only points of the group stage. The Bianconeri would go on to lose 2-0 in the reverse fixture against the Israelis, before falling 4-3 to Benfica and 2-1 once more to PSG. They only managed third spot on goal difference.
Dropping to the Europa League to face Nantes in the knockout playoffs was certainly not part of the plan for Max Allegri and co. Of the top 30 teams in the UEFA club rankings, none have earned less than the 6.000 Juve picked up across their Champions League games (this excludes Lyon and Atalanta, who did not qualify for Europe). Still, Juventus is ranked ninth with 90.000 points. Less points are on offer in the Europa League, but a trophy is still available.
Serie A in the Europa League
After capturing the inaugural Europa Conference League title back in May, Roma returned to the Europa League with renewed energy. Jose Mourinho’s side took on Ludogorets, Real Betis and HJK Helsinki in the group stage. From the outside eye, one would think that Roma would be favourites to top the section.
That favourite tag was immediately question following their inexplicable 2-1 collapse in Razgrad to start the group stage. The Giallorossi’s 3-0 beating of HJK the following match was the only win in their first four games. A 2-1 defeat at home to Real Betis was followed by a 1-1 draw in Spain. That left top spot out of reach for Mourinho’s Roma, who needed two wins to join Betis in the knockout stages.
Fortunately for them, two wins were exactly what they achieved. A 2-1 result at HJK along with a 3-1 success at home to Ludogorets propelled them to second place and a spot in the knockout playoffs. RB Salzburg is up next for the Giallorossi, who will need to step up their game.
A total of 9.000 points have been won in the first half of the campaign by Roma, who is up to 13th place in the five-year ranking with 84.000 points.
Group F was one of the wackiest groups in UEFA club competition history. Playing against Feyenoord, Midtjylland and Sturm Graz, nothing seemed to separate the four clubs.
Kicking things off with a 4-2 win at home to Feyenoord, Lazio took a 5-1 thumping in Denmark to Midtjylland. At this point, all four teams had three points. Following that were 0-0 and 2-2 draws with Sturm Graz. The foursome was still tied on points after four games.
A 2-1 success at home to Mitdjylland left the Biancocelesti in command of their own destiny. Unfortunately for Maurizio Sarri’s charges, there was one game left. A 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord in their last game saw everyone ends up on eight points. What’s worse? Lazio ended up in third on goal difference.
That leaves the capital club in the Europa Conference League, where their local rivals were last season. They will take on Romanian side CFR Cluj in the knockout playoffs. As a result of their Europa League showing, Lazio has only won 6.000 coefficient points so far, putting them in 40th over five years with 42.000.
Serie A Europa Conference League
Back in Europe after missing the last five seasons of continental play, Fiorentina showed inconsistency in their playoff round tie with Twente, squeezing into the group stage with a 2-1 aggregate win. Returning to group play, La Viola battled Istanbul Basaksehir, Hearts and Rigas FS.
Vicenzo Italiano’s men would start life in the Conference League proper in the worst possible way, drawing 1-1 at RFS before receiving a 3-0 hammering away to Basaksehir. That roared the Tuscans to life, as they would go on to win their remaining four games. Hitting Hearts for 3-0 and 5-1, they would exact revenge on Basaksehir at home, winning 2-1. RFS would also prove to be no match for Fiorentina, as the Viola would go on to win 3-0.
The bad news for Fiore was that they lost the head-to-head with Basaksehir, confining them to second. That leaves them partaking in the knockout playoffs against Sporting Braga. Seeing that this Fiorentina’s first season in Europe in five seasons, the 10.000 points won this season is all they have.
Italian coefficients in 2022/23
Taking a look now at the big picture for Italian football, the seven teams in Europe achieved an overall record of 22-7-15 so far. England (34), Germany (27), Spain (24) and Turkey (23) have more wins in Europe this season than Italy.
As for national coefficient, the Serie A clubs have amassed 11.916 points heading into the new year. That is the fourth best in Europe. Sitting 0.500 behind Spain and about 1.000 ahead of France, there is definitely a chance for Italy to improve their ranking via their clubs.
Finally, from the five-year country ranking, Italy remains fourth with 71.497 points. There is virtually no chance of them moving up to catch Germany, who is nearly 8.000 ahead. The good thing for Italy is that they all seven Serie A sides are still in Europe. England is the only other country that can still count their full complement of teams in Europe. Time will tell to see just how far the seven will go, whether they can add to Roma’s Conference League success in May, and how many more coefficient points they can claim this season.