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The Way Too Early Look at the Champions League Pots

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We need something to care about for the next week.

UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour presented by Heineken - Bogota Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

The dust has barely settled on the 2016-17 Premier League Season and we’re already looking ahead to having competitive football again for Tottenham Hotspur. After a season where Spurs set numerous club records, the future has never been brighter for our beloved Spurs. We know the club is looking to take the next step, which includes making that final push for the Premier League title and a deep run in the Champions League.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been paying attention to the results in the other leagues and figuring out where Tottenham are poised to slot in for the draw in August. Right now? Well, it looks scary:

Pot One

Real Madrid CF (La Liga Champions)

Juventus (Serie A Champions)

Chelsea FC (English Premier League Champions)

FC Bayern Munich (Bundesliga Champions)

AS Monaco (Ligue 1 Champions)

SL Benfica (Portuguese Liga Champions)

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukrainian Premier League Champions)

Spartak Moscow (Russian Premier League Champions)

The one that really hurts here is Monaco. Despite getting to the semi-finals of this year’s Champions League, if PSG had managed to nip them for the title, they would have found themselves right back in Pot Four. Instead, as Ligue 1 Champions, their coefficient is chucked out the window, bumping Spurs down a spot. Spartak Moscow hurts too, but only Zenit St. Petersburg are ahead of Spurs in coefficient and they fizzled out in the last several weeks, meaning either Spartak or CSKA winning resulted in the same thing. Everyone else in this pot is ahead of Tottenham in club coefficient.

Pot Two

FC Barcelona (Second place, La Liga)

Atletico Madrid (Third place, La Liga)

Paris Saint-Germain (Second place, Ligue 1)

Borussia Dortmund (Third place, Bundesliga)

Sevilla FC* (Fourth place, La Liga)

Manchester City FC (Third place, English Premier League)

Porto FC (Second place, Portuguese Liga)

Manchester United FC* (Possible Europa League Champions)

So....wow. That’s a lot of heavyweights.

First off, the strength of Spain is on display here as Barcelona and Atletico take the top two spots in the pot. The aforementioned PSG slips to Pot Two after losing out on the Ligue 1 title. Borussia Dortmund made a late charge to secure qualification straight into the group stages while Manchester City’s 5-0 hammering of Watford locked up the same thing. Porto managed to hold onto second place in Portugal and sending Sporting CP to the qualification rounds.

Let’s focus on the two asterisks in this pot, though. Sevilla are slotted into Pot Two based on their coefficient, but they will need to go through the qualification rounds due to their fourth place finish in La Liga, so they are not a lock. Of course, we have no clue who they will play until the end of July.

Then there’s United, who have the most important match of their season this Wednesday against Ajax. With country coefficient practically useless after next season for the top countries, getting a fifth English team into UCL play really means little to other fans in England. Spurs are well ahead of Ajax in club coefficient, which means that every one of you should be pulling hard for Ajax on Wednesday. An Ajax victory banishes United to the Europa league and bumps Spurs up one step closer to Pot Two.

Wait, so where are Spurs in all of this?

Spurs currently sit in the second spot in Pot Three behind SSC Napoli. Serie A still has one week left and Napoli are one point behind AS Roma for second place. Neither club has a particularly difficult match in Week 38, but we all want Roma to win. Napoli moving up into second place would lock them in ahead of us. If Napoli finish in third place, they will have to go into UCL qualification much like Sevilla.

Spurs got a big boost in their quest to get into Pot Two in the Russian Premier League as Zenit St. Petersburg had a rough finish to their season and have completely whiffed on UCL for next season. CSKA Moscow finished in second but are behind Spurs in coefficient, eliminating them from this whole formula.

Can I get a TL;DR?

Sure, why not? Here’s the skinny:

  • Spurs are in the second spot in Pot Three.
  • We want Ajax to beat Manchester United in the Europa League final.
  • Cheer for Roma to hold on to second place in Serie A.
  • One of Sevilla and Napoli have to lose in the UCL qualification come August.

If these things happen, Spurs can improve their chances of getting to the knockout stage by getting into that important Pot Two and look at having to draw the likes of Basel, Anderlecht, Feyenoord, etc instead of dodging the big bullets of Barcelona, Atletico, and Dortmund. Nothing is a guarantee when it comes to the draw (as we painfully found out last season) but it never hurts to get all the help you can.