Sunday, May 26, 2024

Atalanta win gives Benfica direct entry to Champions League

Atalanta did Benfica a favour by defeating Torino 3-0 earlier today and locking a spot in Serie A's top four. The victory hands Benfica a direct entry into next season's Champions League and a minimum of about €40M that the club can put into their coffers.

Since Atalanta won the Europa League earlier this week, it gained automatic entry to next season's Champions League, but by guaranteeing a top 4 spot in Serie A, the Europa League spot now becomes vacant and goes to the best ranked club in the Champions League qualifying stage, which is Benfica.

The direct entry will adjust Benfica's off season plans as they can now focus on strengthening the club, with the group stage only kicking off in September as opposed to playing two rounds of qualifying, which would have commenced in early August.

The revamped Champions League format will see all clubs that qualify for the group stage play a minimum of eight games now, two against clubs in pots 1, 2, 3 and 4. The top eight clubs out of the 36 clubs advance automatically into the round of 16. While the clubs that finish 9th to 24th play a two leg playoff for a spot in the round of 16. 

Clubs that finish 25th or lower are eliminated from the competition and have no entry into the Europa League. Benfica will be seeded in pot 2 when the draw takes place on August 29th.

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