So I spent some time reading up on UEFA coefficients and I learned a few interesting things:
For those of you who don't know, every team has a UEFA club coefficient that is calculated by points earned during a team's last 5 years of competition in Champions League and Europa League, plus 20% of their country's coefficient over the same time (country coefficients determine how many CL and EL spots each country's league is awarded). These club coefficients are then used to seed teams during the group stage draw, which helps prevent teams like Barcelona and Manchester United being drawn into the same group.
Amazingly, competing in the Europa League awards teams almost as many points as competing in the Champions League, especially after the group stages. Teams earn 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and a bonus point for each further round they qualify for.
Spurs currently sit ranked 28th on the coefficient table, with a score of 62.707. For this to matter, Spurs need to have one of the top 16 coefficient scores amongst the teams that qualify for the Champions League next year. Doing so will allow Spurs to be a 2 seed during the Champions League group draw, which is not something to be taken lightly. Without a 2 seed, Spurs are nearly guaranteed to be drawn into a group of death.
So I know what you're all thinking. 28th on the table. That's a lot of teams to overtake by next season. But here's the deal: as tables in each league sit right now, of the teams that would qualify for the Champions League, only 18 would rank above Tottenham. And the race for 16th is CLOSE. Spurs need only FIVE points to surpass Juventus on the table and take 16th. Though five points is probably not going to be enough. Juventus is still in the Champions League earning points, and there's inevitably going to be a few teams ahead of Tottenham that sneak in qualifications, pushing Spurs further down the coefficient table. But eight points? Eight points puts us over Manchester City, over Dynamo Kyiv, over Zenit St. Petersburg, PSG, Juventus, Villarreal, Ajax and PSV. Eight points all but guarantees Spurs a 2 seed in next years Champions League draw.
So what would it take for Spurs to improve their UEFA coefficient by 8 points? At a minimum, it means making the Europa League finals. It's as simple as that. If Spurs make it to the Europa League finals, not only do they get a chance to play in a final in Europe for a REAL TROPHY, they go a long way to help their cause in next year's Champions League campaign.
The road to 2014 Champions League glory starts Thursday.