How does the new UEFA Champions League format work? Exploring all the changes

The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious trophies in the history of soccer, if not in all of global sport. The tournament has been around since 1955, with Real Madrid being the first winners. Since then, it has become the premier trophy for all great soccer players to win, with only the World Cup more important and renowned than it. Currently, the trophy is held by Manchester City, who won it this year.

Every year, 32 teams compete to win the UEFA Champions League, but only one of them is crowned at the end. Fans have long considered the UCL to be the best club competition in the world. However, now, the tournament is set to become very different from what we are used to.

What is the new format for the UEFA Champions League?

UEFA has now decided to scrap the old format, instead adopting a ‘Swiss model’, which will be implemented in 2024–25. This means that the current format will end this season. Currently, there are 32 teams that are divided into eight groups of four teams. After the group stage, there will be 16 clubs that will fight in the knockout stages: Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final itself.

The revised format will now include 36 teams, four more than the previous amount. And instead of multiple teams, all teams will be in one big group. Each team will play eight matches, where they will face different teams each time.

The 36 teams will be further divided into four pots, each consisting of nine clubs. This means that each team will face two clubs from each of these pots. After each club has played eight games, the top eight at the top of the group will automatically qualify for the next stage. Teams between the positions of 9 and 24 will then play two legs against a single team as playoffs for the next stage. This means eight teams will further join the already qualified eight teams from the initial group stage. The eight losing teams will drop down into the Europa League.

The 16 teams will then play in the knockout stages, which will be the same as before. Only the group stage has been changed, which will result in 64 extra matches. This has been done to increase viewership, which will in turn increase revenue for UEFA. The prize pool for the teams will also be far better.

Which is the most successful club in the UEFA Champions League?

The number of UEFA Champions League trophies a team has won indicates the prestige and success of the club. And therefore, this has led every European team to work hard to win the trophy. One club, however, stands above the rest of the competition.

UEFA Champions League

That club is none other than Real Madrid, who are the most successful club in the UEFA Champions League with 14 trophies to their name. They are also the only team to win back-to-back UCL trophies, as done by the legendary three peat team between 2016 and 2018. The last time they won was in 2022, when they mounted epic comeback victories out of nowhere.

The nearest club to Real Madrid is AC Milan, with seven UEFA Champions League trophies. Bayern Munich and Liverpool have six trophies, and Barcelona have five UCLs. Madrid are also the only club to have played in the UCL since it’s inception in 1955 and qualified for the knockout stages each time. They will be hoping to continue this streak in the new format.

The old format may have been great and provided many memorable moments, but it is time to look forward to a new UEFA Champions League.

Fazal Al Bashar

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Fazal is a passionate soccer aficionado, who when not discovering the latest soccer stories and rumors, indulges in playing FIFA all night. While he sucks at the sport, he knows the who and what in all things soccer-related.


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