UEFA Coefficient Battles: Race for 12th, Top 15

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.

This article will preview the battle for the two places in the top 12, as well as places 13th through 15th. Eight countries will be involved in these battles, as (at least) three of them will miss out by the end of the 2024/25 season. In what is almost always the most popular battle in the five-year ranking every year, we are sure to have even more fireworks this time around.

Battle For Places In the Top 15: The Situation

As mentioned, the battle for places in the top 15 will involve (at least) eight countries, with others having very small chances. We will focus this article on the eight with a serious chance.

Regarding what these countries are fighting for, there are three significant places in the top 15. Finishing 11th and 12th guarantees a country two spots in the Europa League. Places 13 and 14 in the ranking see those countries’ domestic champions commence in the Champions League playoff round. Finally, 15th place gives a country five European spots, with two teams in the Champions League.

Below are the eight countries who will be in with a chance for a place in the top 15 by season’s end:

Country2023/24 Season Coefficient2023/24 5-Year CoefficientStarting 5-Year Coefficient 2024/25
Israel8.750 (12th)31.125 (17th)28.750 (11th)
Austria4.800 (21st)32.600 (13th)28.000 (12th)
Norway8.000 (14th)31.625 (14th)27.875 (13th)
Scotland6.400 (16th)36.050 (11th)27.500 (14th)
Greece11.400 (9th)31.525 (15th)26.625 (15th)
Switzerland5.200 (19th)32.975 (12th)26.575 (16th)
Denmark8.500 (13th)31.450 (16th)26.325 (17th)
Poland6.875 (15th)25.375 (21st)23.250 (18th)

We are in for an enticing race this season, considering that 11th place Israel and 17th place Denmark are within 2.500 points of each other. In this battle, such a lead can evaporate by the end of the qualifying rounds.

Battle For Places In the Top 15: The Countries Involved

Countries 11 to 14

We will start by taking a look at the countries ranked 11th to 14th going into the season. All four of these nations will have a great shot at finishing in the top 12. Among this group, we have two countries who recently dropped out of the top 10, and two that are on the rise.

Israel has gone from a country happy to be in the top 20 of the rankings, to now having a very big chance at finishing not just in the top 15, but as high as 11th. Watch out for this country next term, who had a very good 2023/24 term. This is in contrast to Austria, who disappointed last season. Just one team made it past the group stages, which contributed to them dropping out of the top 12. However, like Israel, this is a great chance for Austria to finish this year in the top 12.

Maccabi Tel Aviv (UCL Q2)Sturm Graz (UCL LP)Bodø/Glimt (UCL Q2)Celtic (UCL LP)
Maccabi Petah Tikva (UEL Q2)RB Salzburg (UCL Q3)Molde (UEL Q2)Rangers (UCL Q3)
Maccabi Haifa (UECL Q2)LASK Linz (UEL PO)Brann (UECL Q2)Hearts (UEL PO)
Hapoel Be’er Sheva (UECL Q2)Rapid Wien (UEL Q2)Tromsø (UECL Q2)Kilmarnock (UEL Q2)
Austria Wien (UECL Q2)St. Mirren (UECL Q2)

Norway held on for 14th place at the conclusion of last term, and starts this year a spot higher. They have also risen up the rankings in recent years, and now, a place in the top 12 is not out of the question for the Nordic nation. In contrast, Scotland fell out of the top 10 in April, with Czechia passing them. Heading in 2024/25, the Scots commence in 14th spot, and will need a big season in order to remain in the top 15 or higher.

Countries 15 to 18

We now focus on the countries that will begin the new season in positions 15 to 18 in the ranking. Among these four include three regulars in this battle, along with another who has improved considerably over the last two years.

Greece had a historic 2023/24 season, which ended in Olympiakos becoming the first Greek club to win a European club competition. Watch out for the Greek clubs this campaign, as they could very well continue from where they left off. They hold a small lead over Switzerland for 16th. The Swiss had a disappointing 2023/24, but still held Austria off for 12th spot. It will be an uphill climb for the Central European nation to finish that high this time around, though they would gladly take a top 15 spot.

PAOK Thessaloniki (UCL Q2)Young Boys (UCL PO)FC Midtjylland (UCL Q2)Jagiellonia Białystok (UCL Q2)
Olympiakos Piraeus (UEL LP)Lugano (UCL Q2)Silkeborg (UEL Q2)Wisła Kraków (UEL Q2)
Panathinaikos (UEL Q2)Servette (UEL Q3)Brøndby (UECL Q2)Śląsk Wrocław (UECL Q2)
AEK Athens (UECL Q2)FC Zürich (UECL Q2)FC Kobenhavn (UECL Q2)Legia Warszawa (UECL Q2)
Sankt Gallen (UECL Q2)

Denmark is the last country with any serious shot at 12th place. After missing out on 15th place at the death last term, the Danes could be a dangerous watch this time out. They had a solid season last year, but there is still much to build on. Finally, Poland has gone from strength to strength, going from being regulars in the battle for 22nd, to now having a shot at 15th. It will be a difficult ask, but if we are to go off the last two terms, anything is possible for the Poles.

The Decisive Factors in the Battle For 12th and Top 15

There are several keys to success for finishing in places 11 to 15 this season. For starters, a five-year coefficient of about 38.000 points (top 12) and 36.000 points (top 15) will be necessary. This leaves the countries needing somewhere between 9.000 and 12.000 points this term, which is not an unreasonable ask.

In order to succeed in this task, there are several pieces to the puzzle. for instance, the countries involved in this battle should avoid losing more than one club in qualifying, though they could get away with losing two. Losing multiple teams before the league phase will put them in a troubling position. Ideally, having a team in the Champions League will help, for the bonus points.

Perhaps the most important thing here will be how many sides make the knockout rounds, and the league phase bonus points won. Multiple sides playing European football come February is critical. Any country that has a quarterfinal representative should lock up a place in the top 15 minimum. Lastly, direct matchups between teams from these countries are vital, so look out for how those games go.

Prediction: Where Will These Countries Finish?

As always, this is the most difficult battle to predict. There are so many moving parts, twists and turns, that will decide the race for the top 12 and top 15. This is how we see things turning out here:

  1. Israel
  2. Greece

  3. Austria
  4. Norway

  5. Switzerland

  6. Denmark
  7. Scotland
  8. Poland

Having just four teams in Europe looks like it could be quite advantageous for both Israel and Greece, who we predict to end up finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Expectations should be quite high for both countries, who will look to build off last year. Both nations should have at least three teams in the league phase, and could very well end up with multiple teams in the knockout rounds again. Overall, they should be the two finishing in the top 12.

Places 13 and 14 should go to Austria and Norway, respectively. The former will likely just miss out on 12th place, as a result of having an extra team in Europe over Israel and Greece, leaving them less margin for error. For Norway, they really should make the most of their starting position. They could get away with just two teams in the league phase once again, so long as both make the knockout rounds again. But, it could be a struggle for them.

As for 15th place, Switzerland will be most likely to edge out Scotland, Denmark and Poland. The key here is the qualifying rounds though, where the Swiss need big performances. However, expect them to do just enough. Multiple teams making the knockout rounds, as was the case last year, would also prove decisive. Overall, Switzerland should have enough strength to hold off the countries below them.

Scotland and Denmark are set to end this season on the outside looking in. The Scots are unlikely to do anything special in Europe once again, which should result in their exit from the top 15. As for Denmark, they have a great chance at top 15 again, and after just missing out last spring, they will be highly motivated. However, there is reason to believe they will choke, given the inconsistency in recent years.

Finally, Poland has done well to climb up to 18th place in the rankings, but finishing any higher than 18th is a very difficult task for them, especially given the clubs they have in Europe. A spot in the top 15 feels a year too early for them, though if they have a decent year, they could be well and truly in the thick of it next term.

However this battle pans out, prepare to be in for a fascinating race from these nations. After all, this is the closest the battle has been in a while, and we should be in for a real treat. Be sure to keep an eye out for the race for top 15 this year: this will be good.

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