Easier road to Europe
By Thomas Myren, 1 December 2007, 13:07
From 2009/10 both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup will be changed. This gains Rosenborg.
Photo: Thomas Karlsen
New format for the Champions League:
22 teams go through directly to the group stage instead of 16. The six additional clubs will be the third-placed sides from the associations ranked between 1 and 3 in the ranking list, and the champions of countries ranked from 10 to 12.
Ten teams will qualify through a double qualifying route – one is reserved for the champions of the associations ranked from 13 to 53, with the exception of Liechtenstein. Five clubs will qualify via this route. The other path is reserved for the non-champions of associations rated between 1 and 15.
The UEFA Cup is also changed:
The UEFA Cup between 2009 and 2012 will feature 48 sides, split into 12 groups of four; the top two teams in each group will qualify for the knockout phase and be joined by the eight clubs that finish the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in third place.
This change is good for Rosenborg and Norway ranked 18th. Most important the possibility of meeting giant clubs from Spain, England, Italia, France and Germany in the Champions League qualifiers is gone.
The chance of being seeded in the draw for the 3rd qualifying round has also increased, even though there now are just 5 instead of 16 spots. In 2009/10 RBK will most likely be fighting with champions of Czech rep., Belgium, Greece, Switzerland and Bulgaria for the 5 seeded spots; no other clubs will have better coefficient than Rosenborg. Most likely the Bulgarian champion (i.e. Levski Sofia) will be ranked after Rosenborg.
It is not advantageous that the Norwegian champions now have to play three instead of two qualifying rounds, but the opponents in the two first round should be of pretty mean quality, consisting of players with real lack of European cup experience. In double leg fights Rosenborg should cope with them.
The 3rd round will still not be a walk-over, but even if Rosenborg are not seeded, the opponent will be possible to beat. After all it is far better to face Anderlecht than AC Milan in the final test before the group stage.