UEFA Coefficient Battles 2024/25: Battle For 50th

The UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Conference League all get underway next week with the first qualifying round. More than 80 teams will embark on a new continental journey in what is the first season under a completely new format in September.

Following last month’s country coefficient preview series, Extratime Talk opens up another coefficient preview series, this one much shorter. We will take a look at the battles in UEFA’s five-year country coefficient ranking over the next season. While not everyone is familiar with coefficients and its significance, it plays a role in how many spots a country gets in Europe, the competitions, and the starting points for all clubs involved.

Unlike the previous series, not all countries will be mentioned in depth. The majority of them, however, will be, as those national associations are expected to be involved.

For this article, we preview the race to avoid the bottom five of the coefficient ranking. Being in the top 50 of the ranking ensures at least four teams in Europe (bar Liechtenstein, who always has one) for the 2026/27 season. Six countries are primarily involved in this race to avoid the bottom five.

Battle For 50th Spot: The Situation

As previously mentioned, this season’s race to 50th place will primarily involve six countries, who are the focus of this article. Among these half a dozen countries, they are represented by 21 clubs in Europe this season.

The table below shows the six countries, their 2023/24 season coefficient, their 2023/24 five-year coefficient, and their coefficient to kick off 2024/25.

Country2023/24 Season Coefficient2023/24 5-Year CoefficientStarting 5-Year Coefficient 2024/25
Georgia1.250 (48th)7.625 (46th)5.375 (49th)
Wales0.625 (51st)5.791 (52nd)4.791 (50th)
Montenegro1.333 (47th)5.708 (53rd)4.708 (51st)
Andorra1.666 (41st)5.998 (51st)4.498 (52nd)
Belarus1.750 (39th)6.625 (49th)4.125 (53rd)
Gibraltar0.166 (54th)4.957 (54th)3.957 (54th)

Between 49th place Georgia and 54th place Gibraltar, the difference in five-year coefficient is less than 1.500 points. Exclude Georgia, and the difference among the other five nations is less than a point. This really does give the feeling that anything could happen in this race.

Battle For 50th: The Countries Involved

The Nations Inside the Top 50

There are two countries that start the season in the top 50 that will have to nervously watch the chasing pack: Georgia and Wales. There is little margin for error for both nations, particularly the latter. Below is a look at the teams representing the pair in Europe this season.

Dinamo Batumi (UCL Q1)The New Saints (UCL Q1)
Iberia 1999 (UECL Q2)Connah’s Quay (UECL Q1)
Dinamo Tbilisi (UECL Q1)Bala Town (UECL Q1)
Torpedo Kutaisi (UECL Q1)Caernarfon Town (UECL Q1)

Georgia has been in free-fall over the last few years. From a country comfortably distanced from the bottom five, to now nervously looking below them as several countries could pounce. Dinamo Batumi, Iberia 1999, Dinamo Tbilisi, and Torpedo Kutaisi have the task of keeping the country in the top 50 of the coefficient ranking be season’s end, though there is pessimism by some Georgian football fans.

As for Wales, they commence in the 50th and final spot to have at least four European spots. Dropping into the bottom five at the conclusion of last term, they can be fortunate to not be starting the 2024/25 campaign in that position. Represented by The New Saints, Connah’s Quay, Bala Town, and Caernarfon Town this time around, Wales will have the best chance to avoid the bottom five in quite sometime.

The Countries in the Bottom Five

With San Marino rooted to the foot of the rankings, there are four countries with a legitimate shot of climbing out of the bottom five by season’s end. Montenegro, Andorra, Belarus, and Gibraltar have it all to do this summer, in what will be an arduous task.

Dečić (UCL Q1)UE Santa Coloma (UCL Q1)Dinamo Minsk (UCL Q1)Lincoln Red Imps (UCL Q1)
Budućnost Podogrica (UECL Q1)Inter Club d’Escaldes (UECL Q1)Neman Grodno (UECL Q2)St. Joesph’s (UECL Q1)
Mornar Bar (UECL Q1)Atlèti Club d’Escaldes (UECL Q1)Torpedo Zhodino UECL Q1)Magpies (UECL Q1)
Isloch (UECL Q1)

Montenegro will only have three representatives in Europe this campaign, as their decline has taken place over the last few years. However, they are less than 0.100 points behind Wales for 50th place. Thus, a good summer from Dečić, Budućnost, and Mornar Bar should be enough for them to climb into the top 50.

Last summer was Andorra’s strongest ever showing in Europe, collecting 1.666 points, and both of their Conference League sides progressing at least round. That should give some hope for the microstate that they could claim a fourth European place for the very first time. UE Santa Coloma, Inter Club d’Escaldes, and Atlèti Club d’Escaldes are the Andorran sides in Europe this term, so watch out for them.

Perhaps one of the biggest collapses over the space of five years, Belarus starts the 2024/25 season in 53rd spot. This is despite the fact they were a top 30 nation just a few years ago. They are in quite the hole this time though. Belarus escaped a year ago, but Dinamo Minsk, Neman Grodno, Torpedo Zhodino, and Isloch will have it much harder this time around.

Completing the group of nations battling it out for a top 50 spot is Gibraltar. In what is their 11th season of competing in Europe, they once again find themselves struggling to avoid the bottom five. Lincoln Red Imps, who made the Conference League group stage in 2021/22, St. Joseph’s, and Magpies have the unenviable task of making up the 0.834-point difference between them and 50th place.

The Decisive Factor in the Battle For 50th

As was the case in recent years, a five-year coefficient of about 6.000 points will be required for 50th place. That means the six nations mentioned will have to collect anywhere between 1.000 and 2.000 points this season to stand a chance.

But, how will these clubs manage to pick up these points? What will be the key to get this done? For starters, the domestic champions will have the biggest task, as making the third qualifying round or playoff round of the Conference League would go a long way to helping their country finish in the top 50. Doing this will give them at least eight games in Europe, thereby increasing the chances to collect points.

Beyond that, every country should also strive to have at least one of their Conference League teams progress from a tie at least once. That would earn between 0.250 and 0.500 points (for countries with four clubs) or 0.333 to 0.666 (for countries with at least three clubs) for the country coefficient.

Finally, as is the case with all of the battles in this series, any direct matchups – ties between teams from countries in this battle – will be pivotal. There are always these clashes within the first two rounds of the qualifiers. Winning these ties can very easily be the difference between 50th place and 51st.

Prediction: Who Will Avoid the Bottom Five?

Predicting which two countries to survive the bottom five is no easy task, but after looking at each country, here is our prediction as to how this season will end up:

  1. Georgia
  2. Wales

  3. Belarus
  4. Andorra
  5. Montenegro
  6. Gibraltar

The prediction here is that Georgia and Wales will remain in the top 50 at the conclusion of the season. For Georgia, they have the least amount of work to do, requiring just 0.625 points to eclipse that 6.000-point mark mention earlier in this piece. It would take a disastrous summer for them to not reach the target.

As for Wales, they have their top three teams in Europe (by club coefficient). Seeing that The New Saints is seeded in UCL Q1 – the only team of these six countries to be seeded in that round – they really should be able to make the most of this. Assuming they do get past Q1, this puts less pressure on the other three teams, with at least one of them likely to get past UECL Q1.

Regarding the remaining four countries, Belarus has quite the hole to climb out of. This one feels too steep, and while they should be able to collect some points, it is unlikely to be enough. Andorra could be in for another good year, but earning 1.500 points is a tough ask here, and they will likely be unable to manage that.

For Montenegro and Gibraltar, they look set to struggle again, especially if their domestic champions are eliminated in the UCL at the first hurdle. Both have a seeded team in UECL Q1, but it would not be surprising if they are eliminated at that round. Overall, things do not look promising for either nation.

With less than a week to go before the action gets underway, the battle for 50th spot will again be another fascinating race. As per usual, this race should be complete by the end of August. Thus, we have a month and half to two months to enjoy as this battle. Two spots in the top 50 remain, and it is up to these six countries to fight for that fourth European spot. Whichever two countries end up on top, it will be full earned.

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