The Champions League final will be held next Saturday, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the draw for next season’s campaign. Specifically, the picture for what the pots for the group stage draw is starting to become clearer, and Tottenham Hotspur look like they’re in a pretty good position to be placed in either Pot 1 or Pot 2. If you’re a Spurs fan, the only team left to be wary of is Roma.
The final week of Serie A is taking place today, and Roma, currently in sixth, still has a chance of finishing fourth in the Italian league table and qualifying for the Champions League. Should they do that, they will push Spurs back to Pot 3 by virtue of their superior UEFA coefficient. However, the only (reasonable) scenario in which Roma can leap into a qualifying position is if they defeat Parma at home today, and the teams ahead of them — Atalanta, Inter, and AC Milan — all lose. Inter are hosting an Empoli side that is trying to avoid relegation, Atalanta host mid-table Sassuolo, while Milan travel to SPAL. Should this scenario happen, Atalanta, Inter and Roma would be tied at 66 pts. and Roma would squeak in over Inter via a head-to-head tiebreaker (not goal differential).
Should Tottenham win the Champions League on June 1, they will automatically end up in Pot 1 as champions.
Pots and seeding are hugely important for the Champions League draw. Pot 1 contains the Champions League and Europa League champions, as well as the champions of the top six European federations. For this coming season, that means Barcelona, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, and Zenit St. Petersburg will be in Pot 1, along with either Chelsea/Arsenal, and Spurs/Liverpool. Pots 2, 3 and 4 are then filled with the remaining teams, ranked by coefficient, meaning Pot 2 is generally filled with very good teams that didn’t win their league. Pot 2 will assuredly include Real Madrid, Dortmund, Napoli, and Atletico Madrid.
In the draw, each group is comprised of one team from each pot, but in the group stages teams from the same federation can not be drawn against each other. So for a team like Spurs, ending up in Pot 3 significantly raises the chances that they will draw two super strong teams, possibly in the so-called “Group of Death” and making it that much more difficult to get out of the group. Being in Pot 1 or 2 is ideal, not because it means an easy draw, but because it reduces the chance of being in a super difficult one.
Tottenham have been in strong Champions League groups the past two seasons, including in 2017-18 when they were drawn in the Group of Death... and won it. So it’s not out of the question that even if Spurs were to somehow lose the final and drop to Pot 3 that they wouldn’t get out of their group. But it certainly helps to land in Pot 2 so you don’t have to worry as much about making every single game count. And clinching Pot 1 would be even better, because that meant that Spurs are about to lift the Champions League trophy as winners.
The final matches in Serie A kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. UK).