Greece finish 15th in UEFA’s Associations Rankings
Greece were left without a representative in the UEFA Europa and Champions League for the 2017/18 season and claimed 15th position in UEFA’s Associations Rankings.
A poor season in Europe came to an end for the Greek teams after Greece’s final representative in UEFA’s competitions for this season, AEK, were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League against Dynamo Kyiv. Greece began the year with five representatives and only continued with two teams after the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions & Europa Leagues.
Panathinaikos, Panionios, and PAOK were all eliminated in UEFA Europa League qualifying to Athletic Bilbao, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, and Ostersunds, while Olympiacos and AEK continued onto the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League group stages, respectively. Olympiacos only gained one point in an extremely difficult Champions League group with Barcelona, Juventus, and Sporting Lisbon while AEK qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League with one win and five draws. AEK’s run came to an end on Thursday evening, concluding Greece’s representation in Europe’s competitions for the 2017/18 season.
Greece began the year 12th spot in UEFA’s Association Coefficient Rankings and ended up finishing 15th in the rankings, after an overall poor display from the Greek clubs in Europe. Greece racked up just 5.100 points in the process and saw Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic pull ahead in the rankings. Even if AEK were to continue on in the Europa League, a deep run in the competition would be the only way for Greece to avoid finishing 15th.
With Greece finishing 15th in UEFA’ Association Rankings, one place below last year’s 14th placed finish, next year’s Greek SuperLeague & Cup (2018/19) will yield five representatives in Europe for the 2019/20 season. Below is the breakdown:
- SuperLeague Champion: Begins in UEFA Champions League 2nd qualifying round
- SuperLeague Runner-Up: Begins in UEFA Champions League 2nd qualifying roundCup Champion: Begins in UEFA Europa League 3rd qualifying round
- SuperLeague 3rd place: Begins in UEFA Europa League 2nd qualifying round
- SuperLeague 4th place: Begins in UEFA Europa League 2nd qualifying round
The Greek SuperLeague champion will now need to go through THREE qualifying rounds (as opposed to two rounds) in the 2019/20 Champions League to qualify for the group stages, an enormous task to say the least.
With Greece finishing 14th in last year’s UEFA Rankings, this year’s Greek SuperLeague & Cup will yield the same number of teams for next year’s UEFA Champions & Europa Leagues, however the only difference lies with the SuperLeague champion. This year’s SuperLeague champion will begin in the 3rd qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League as opposed to the second qualifying round, avoiding an extra barrier to reaching the glamorous group stages of the competition.
The future does not seem bright for Greek clubs in Europe as reaching the group stages of either the Champions or Europe Leagues will continue to be a more difficult task, with added qualifying rounds.