UEFA Coefficient Battles 2024/25: Race for 33rd, 38th

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.

This article will look at the countries involved in the race for the top 33, as well as the top 38, in UEFA’s five-year coefficient ranking. A whopping 13 countries will be discussed, involving 43 teams in total.

Battle For Top 33/Top 38: The Situation

It will be a very intense battle for the remaining two spots in the top 33, plus the five places between 34th and 38th, this term. Some 13 countries have realistic desires of claiming one of these seven spots. Nine of them have a shot at 33rd, while the remaining four look for 38th at best.

For reference, countries in the top 33 get direct access to the Europa League, with their cup winners – plus a second team for the top 12 leagues – starting in that competition. Countries ranked 34th through 38th have their cup winners enter the second round of Conference League qualifying (rebalancing not considered), while countries 39 and below have their cup winners start in UECL Q1.

Below are the countries who are fighting for these places, starting with the seven nations currently in the top 38.

Country2023/24 Season Coefficient2023/24 5-Year CoefficientStarting 5-Year Coefficient 2024/25
Kosovo3.000 (31st)11.541 (32nd)10.041 (32nd)
Ireland1.500 (43rd)10.875 (36th)9.625 (33rd)
Finland1.750 (39th)11.125 (34th)9.500 (34th)
Faroe Islands2.750 (32nd)10.375 (38th)9.250 (35th)
Iceland3.833 (27th)9.583 (41st)8.958 (36th)
Bosnia and Herzegovina2.250 (34th)10.000 (39th)8.500 (37th)
Latvia1.625 (42nd)10.625 (37th)8.375 (38th)

And here are the remaining six countries, who start the 2024/25 campaign on the outside looking in for 38th.

Country2023/24 Season Coefficient2023/24 5-Year CoefficientStarting 5-Year Coefficient 2024/25
Kazakhstan3.125 (30th)11.500 (33rd)8.125 (39th)
Armenia2.250 (33rd)10.625 (36th)7.875 (40th)
Malta1.500 (44th)8.250 (45th)7.500 (41st)
Liechtenstein0.500 (52nd)10.000 (40th)7.500 (42nd)
Lithuania1.125 (49th)8.500 (44th)6.875 (43rd)
Northern Ireland1.125 (50th)9.208 (42nd)6.833 (44th)

Only 1.500 points divide 33rd place Ireland and 39th place Kazakhstan. That means that neither country – nor the five between them – are even guaranteed a place in the top 38. Kosovo starts with more than 10.000 points in their five-year coefficient, the only nation in this group to do so. With a gap of nearly 2.000 points on Kazakhstan, they are virtually the only one assured a top 38 place here.

From 38th place Latvia to Northern Ireland in 44th, the difference is a tad over 1.500 points. That presents us with a fascinating race this summer. Latvia all the way down to Northern Ireland encompasses seven countries in total, including the aforementioned pair. That leaves us with many things to keep in mind as the qualifying round matches take place.

Battle For Top 33/Top 38: Countries Involved

Countries 32 to 35

This section will be split into three, starting with the four countries in positions 32 to 35 to start the season. Much expectation will be on all of them to earn a top 33 place, and, realistically, should not drop out of the top 38.

Kosovo and Ireland could not be in any more contrasting positions than where they are. While Kosovo has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years, Ireland has been a mix bag. The former has earned at least 2.000 points in each of the last three campaigns. This is in contrast to Ireland, who reached that total in half of the last four seasons.

KosovoIrelandFinlandFaroe Islands
Ballkani (UCL Q1)Shamrock Rovers (UCL Q1)HJK Helsinki (UCL Q1)KÍ (UCL Q1)
Llapi (UEL Q1)St. Patrick’s Athletic (UECL Q2)Ilves (UECL Q2)HB Tórshavn (UECL Q2)
Drita (UECL Q2)Derry City (UECL Q1)KuPS (UECL Q1)Víkingur Gøta (UECL Q1)
Malisheva (UECL Q1)Shelbourne (UECL Q1)VPS (UECL Q1)B36 Tórshavn (UECL Q1)

Finland had a rather disappointing 2023/24 season, failing to collect 2.000 points, and losing out on 33rd. That leaves the Nordic nation hoping to repeat their 2021/22 haul of 3.750 points. In comparison, Faroe Islands managed to earn 5.000 points in the last two seasons, combined. That gives reason for confidence heading into this summer. If they hit 3.000 points this time around, they will have a very solid shot at 33rd.

Countries 36 to 39

We move on to countries ranked between 36th and 39th heading into the new season. Three of the four nations here had a very good 2023/24, and will look to build off of that.

Of the countries ranked 30 or lower to commence 2024/25, only one earned more points last term than Iceland’s 3.833. It was nothing short of a phenomenal season for Icelandic football, and it nearly got better as they just missed out on 38th. Iceland, as well as Bosnia Herzegovina, had a team in the group stages in Europe for the first time last fall. Speaking of the Balkan nation, they also earned a respectable 2.250 points in 2023/24. It will be a tall order to repeat last year’s showing, but not impossible.

IcelandBosnia and HerzegovinaLatviaKazakhstan
Víkingur Reykjavik (UCL Q1)Borac Banja Luka (UCL Q1)RFS (UCL Q1)Ordabasy (UCL Q1)
Valur Reykjavik (UECL Q1)Zrinjski Mostar (UECL Q2)Riga FC (UECL Q2)Tobol Kostanay (UEL Q1)
Stjarnan (UECL Q1)Velež Mostar (UECL Q1)Auda (UECL Q1)FC Astana (UECL Q2)
Breiðablik (UECL Q1)FK Sarajevo (UECL Q1)Liepāja (UECL Q1)Aktobe (UECL Q1)

Latvia was represented by RFS in the UECL group stage back in 2021/22. The following season, they earned just 1.625 points. This was a disappointing return, and will need to be improved upon going into 2024. In contrast, Kazakhstan eclipsed 3.000 points last campaign, which helped them claim a surprising 33rd place finish. It will be intriguing to see whether they can do it again this summer.

Countries 40 to 44

The final group here are the countries 40 to 44. All but one of these nations will primarily aim for a top 38 spot, with anything higher than 36th place being a massive surprise.

Armenia has had two teams in the UECL proper in the competition’s three years of existence. Even though they earned 2.250 points last term, they failed to produce a group stage representative. As for Malta, they are in a rather interesting position. They are one of two countries in this group to have never been represented in the main rounds in Europe. However, this year could very well be their chance to change that.

ArmeniaMaltaLiechtensteinLithuaniaNorthern Ireland
Pyunik (UCL Q1)Ħamrun Spartans (UCL Q1)Vaduz (UECL Q2)Panevėžys (UCL Q1)Larne (UCL Q1)
Ararat-Armenia (UECL Q2)Silema Wanderers (UECL Q2)TransINVEST (UECL Q2)Cliftonville (UECL Q2)
Noah (UECL Q1)Floriana (UECL Q1)Žalgiris Vilnius (UECL Q1)Linfield (UECL Q1)
Urartu (UECL Q1)Marsaxlokk (UECL Q1)FA Šiauliai (UECL Q1)Crusaders (UECL Q1)

Of the five countries in this section, only Liechtenstein has a shot at 33rd place, although that will depend on whether Vaduz can repeat their magic from two summers ago. Back then, they made the Conference League proper, shocking many across Europe. A return there would be highly impressive, and would put the country in the top 38 at minimum, possibly higher.

Lithuania’s Žalgiris Vilnius enjoyed Conference League football in the fall of 2022. With that in mind, the Baltic state will hope to have a team make that stage again at the conclusion of the summer. Finally, Northern Ireland had a close call through Linfield a couple of years ago. However, they are the ones on the outside looking in for 38th. It will take a big summer from all four clubs to challenge for 38th.

The X-Factor in the Race for 33rd/38th

To earn a place in the top 33, expect for countries to need about 3.000 points minimum. Meanwhile, for 38th place, at least 2.500 points will be required. Anything less than 2.000 points will not be enough for a place in the top 38, especially given the sheer number of countries involved.

With that said, the question now is: what will need the clubs need to do? To begin, domestic champions making a league phase, most likely the UECL, is a must. This is decisive in the race for 33rd and 38th. Countries with no teams playing continental football in the fall will struggle to keep up.

There is more though. Having at least two teams progress in qualifying will be helpful, with ideally one side making UECL Q3 (excluding the domestic champions). This affords an extra 0.500 to 1.000 points, and will go a very long way. Direct clashes will also be important, as is the case in all of the battles.

Prediction: Who Will Be in the Top 33 and Top 38?

There are realistically only two spots in the top 33, but who will get them? What about the five spots between 34th and 38th? Looking back at last term, we are given a very good idea.

Here is our prediction for all of the countries involved in this race:

  1. Kosovo
  2. Iceland

  3. Faroe Islands
  4. Finland
  5. Ireland
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Latvia

  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Lithuania
  10. Armenia
  11. Liechtenstein
  12. Northern Ireland
  13. Malta

Kosovo and Iceland look most likely to build on last year’s showings, and for us are expected to take the final two places in the top 33. Faroe Islands should pose a good threat as well as Finland, but ultimately, the pair are likely to miss out, earning 34th and 35th, respectively.

The final three spots in the top 38 are a bit more difficult to choose from, but Ireland would have to have a disastrous season to fall any further than 36th. Kazakhstan showed some serious promise last term, but we can expect for them to just sneak into the top 38. The 38th and final spot is predicted to go to Latvia, but Bosnia, Lithuania, and Armenia should all have a decent shout as well. Latvia is most likely to have a team in the UECL proper, which makes the difference here.

Liechtenstein would need another miracle from Vaduz, which just looks far too unlikely. Northern Ireland and Malta need a team in the league phase, which also does not look favourable for either. For Bosnia, Lithuania, and Armenia, at least one of them should be able to get a team in the league phase, but can their UECL qualifying round teams collect enough points? There is reason to doubt this, which is why they are all expected to just miss out on 38th.

Of course, the summer and possibly the fall will be pivotal for all 13 countries in their push for a place in the top 33 or top 38. As to who will end up there in the end, we are in for another great summer of football, which will help us decide who succeeded this year, and who did not.

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