2010-11 UEFA Champions League Qualifying Picture – Qualifying Rounds

by Steven Maloney on April 19, 2010 · 4 comments   Email This Post Email This Post

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As we begin to wind down most qualifying seasons and Russia begins qualifying for 2011-12, it seemed to me worth taking a snapshot of football all across Europe in terms of Champions League Qualifying.  I recommend soccerway.com to follow all of these leagues as clubs from all around the continent try to gain entry into the world’s greatest professional club tournament.

FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND:

  • Who’s In: HB Toshavin (Faroe), FC Santa Coloma (Andorra)
  • Too Close to Call:
    • Luxembourg: Jeunesse d’esch leads F91 Dudelange by only 1 point after last week’s round.  4 matches remain for each side.
    • Montenegro: Rudar leads Buducnost by 5 points with 6 matches remaining for both sides.  They are done playing one another.
    • Malta: Birkirkra leads Valletta in the Championship Round by 4 points with three to play.  Valletta has 9 Goal Advantage in differential. If Valletta can gain one point in the next two rounds, they host Birkirka on May 5 to end the season.
    • San Marino: Have yet to start a 6 team playoff to determine the championship.
  • These 6 teams play a knockout round with the three winners advancing to…

SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND:

  • IN: BATE (Belarus), FH (Volcano-land), Rosenborg (Norway), AIK (Sweden), HJK Helsinki (Finland)
  • I’m Calling it for: Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Koper (Slovenia), Sheriff (Moldova), Olimpi Rustava (Georgia), Dinamo Tirana (Albania), The New Saints (Wales)
  • Too Close to Call:
    • Denmark: Kobenhaven lead OB by 6 points with 5 matches left. Kobenhaven have a +20 goal differential advantage and recently beat OB 2-0 at home.
    • Bulgaria: Lovech lead by 7 points after beating second place Lokomotiv Sofia on Sunday.  5 matches to go here and a +12 GD advantage for Lovech as well.
    • Czech Republic: 4 clubs are within 4 points with 5 weeks left.  Sparat leads by 3 points on the table, but Banik Ostrava has a game in hand in second place.  Sparta play Banik on May 2, possibly for the title.  If 4th place Teplice have a hope to climb through three teams, it is because they finish at 3rd place Jablonec and at Sparata on May 5 and May 15 respectively.
    • Austria: Red Bulls for everyone! Salzburg lead by 6 with 5 to play. Next week Salzburg host second place Rapid Wien and can pretty much secure the title with a win.
    • Serbia: Crvena Zvezda lead by 2 points over Partizan.  Partizan host the leaders on May 7.  They are dead even on goal difference.
    • Israel: Just began a 6 team playoff for the title.  Only one week into it so far.
    • Cyprus: Omonia Nicosia lead the championship round by 4 points with 3 to play. Anorthosis Famagusta need to get within three points by the time they host Omonia Nicosia on the last match day.
    • Slovakia: Zilinia lead by 5 points with 5 matches left.  Slovan Bratislava also find themselves 10 goals back on difference.
    • Poland: Wisla Krakow lead Lech Poznan by 1 point with a game in hand for the leaders.  Wisla host Lech Poznan next weekend, on April 24.
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina: Zeljjeznicar have oved 3 points clear of Borac Banja Luka with their recent 4-2 win over the now second place side.  Still 7 weeks to go in this story.
    • Hungary: Fehervar lead by 7 points on Debreceni. Debrecini are looking for their 5th consecutive trip to the Champions League. This year they had the pleasure of being the other team in Liverpool’s group to not go through.  If they wish to return, they have 8 weeks to catch up, a game in hand, and they play host to the leaders on the final match day on May 7.
    • Macedonia: Renova lead by 7 points with 5 weeks left.  I would add that Renova are almost worth calling it for now, as they are currently 18-3-3 in the league to this point.  A meltdown seems unlikely.
    • Azerbaijan: 5 of the 6 teams in the final phase are within 6 points with 4 weeks to play. Way too soon to tell anything.
    • Northern Ireland: Also only 2 of 5 matches into a playoff.  Stay tuned.
  • The winners of the knockout rounds in this phase advance to…

THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND: (Champions Draw)

  • IN: Anderlecht (Belgium)
  • I’m Calling it For: Rangers (Scotland)
  • Too Close to Call:
    • Switzerland: Here’s one of the tightest title races in Europe.  Basel and Young Boys are tied with 5 weeks to play.  Only a 5 goal differential has Basel atop the table.  Of course, second place still makes the Champions League in the ….

THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND: (Best Placed Draw)

  • IN: Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Basel or Young Boys (Switzerland – see above)
  • I’m Calling it For: No one else, so far.
  • Too Close to Call:
    • Ukraine 2nd: Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk are tied with 4 weeks left.  One of them goes to the Group Stage directly, the other one ends up here.
    • Holland 2nd: Twente and Ajax are, like the Ukrainian sides above, both going to the Champions League. Now it’s a question of who wins the league and who ends up here.  Twente have a one point lead going into the final match day.  Ajax lead on goal difference if it comes to that.  Both clubs are away for their final match.
    • Romania 2nd: CFR Cluj have a 3 point lead in first with a game in hand.  Right now, Steaua Bucuresti sit in second, but third place Timisoara have a game in hand and a massive goal differential advantage.  Unirea are also 2 points behind Steaua, but have played the same number of games.   Vaslui are also within 5 points of Steaua, and they play Cluj and Steaua within three days of one another on May 4 and May 7 respectively.  Timsoara play Cluj tomorrow (4/19) travel to Steaua later this week on the 23rd.
    • Portugal 2nd: Sporting Braga lead Porto for second place by 5 points with 3 weeks to go.  More bad news for Porto: Benfica comes to play on May 2.
    • Turkey 2nd: Turkey is, once again, insanely close as we come down the stretch.  Bursaspor leads the table by only 1 point with 4 weeks to play. Fenerbache sit second only 4 points clear of Galatasaray. Besiktas lurks 7 points behind Fenerbache as well.  Bursaspor can author their title when they travel to Galatasaray on April 24 and host Besiktas on May 15.
    • Greece 2nd: 4 team playoff between Olympiacos, PAOK, AEK AThens, and USA Rejects Aris FC.
    • Scotland 2nd: I’m too gutless to call this for Celtic.  They have a 7 point lead over Dundee with 5 weeks left.
    • Belgium 2nd: The race for second is on in Belgium.  Gent sit in second with 4 weeks remaining. Club Brugge are 1 point back and Sint-Truiden are only 3 back of Gent.  Sint-Truiden hosts Gent on May 5, right after traveling to Brugge on May 2. Gent hosts Club Brugge on May 8.
  • The winners all advance to the

BEST-PLACED PLAYOFF ROUND:

  • IN: No one, really.
  • I’m Calling it For: No one, really.
  • Too Close to Call:
    • England 4th: Spurs lead Man City by 2 points thanks to the dramatic loss by City to their cross-town rivals and Spurs back-to-back wins against Arsenal and Chelsea.  Villa are 6 back with 4 weeks to play, and Liverpool are looking dead and buried back 8 points.
    • Spain 4th:   Sevilla lead Mallorca by 2 points, but Mallorca has a game in hand.  Villareal and Athletic Bilbao linger 5 points behind Sevilla with 5 weeks to play.
    • Italy 4th: Sampdoria lead Palermo by 2 points with 4 weeks to play.  Napoli are 5 points back and Juventus hover at 6 points behind.  The league denies that the final results will be released tomorrow.
    • Germany 3rd: Only goal difference separates Werder Bremen from Bayern Leverkusen presently.  Borussia Dortmund trail by one and Stuttgart are 4 points behind with three weeks to play.
    • France 3rd: Marseille lead presently, but Auxerre’s hold on second may be tenuous.  Lyon presently sit 3rd with 59 points and five weeks to play – but they only lead Montpellier on goal difference.  To make things even more insane, Lille are only 1 point back and Bordeaux are only 2 points back in the race for third place.  Lyon’s place in the table may cause a slight reorganization of the Champions League draw, were they to win the tournament and either finish third or not qualify through league play at all.
  • Winners plus the winners in the Champions draw all advance to…

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP PHASE:

  • IN: Chelsea (England), Rubin Kazan (Russia), Spartak Moscow (Russia), Panathanaikos (Greece), Roma (Italy), Inter (Italy), Real Madrid – in fact already eliminated in the round of 16 (Spain), Barcelona (Spain)
  • I’m Calling it For: Manchester United (England), Bayern Munich (Germany), Arsenal (England), Valencia (Spain), Schalke 04 (Germany), Marseille (France), Benfica (Portugal)
  • Too Close to Call:
    • France 2nd: See above. Auxerre lead.
    • Ukraine 1st: Either Shakhtar or Dinamo
    • Holland 1st: Either Twente or Ajax
    • Romania 1st: Almost ready to call this for CFR Cluj
    • Turkey: All I know is that it’s not going to be Ankaraspor: played 30, lost 30. ZERO goals for, NINETY goals allowed.  I’d say maybe you can fight to get promoted into the top flight again next year, but honestly, is that really a good idea?

So, that’s the drama of our tournament field for next season.  Which two teams are already on their way to falling all over the place on a third-rate pitch in next year’s final?

Written By Steven Maloney (80 Posts)
Steven Maloney is a regular contributor for Glorious Football. You can follow him on Twitter @stevenmaloney. Like Albert Camus, he fancies himself as having learned his morals "on the football pitch and in the theater." His football writing interests are in the institutional structures and strategies of world football, as well as the ways in which contemporary politics enters into the world of football and vice-versa. His most cherished memories of the game are of being in Holland for Euro 2000. In the interests of full disclosure, he supports Arsenal, the United States and DC United.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fedya_Fussball April 20, 2010 at 9:25 am

The Ukrainian team is “Dynamo Kyiv”. You should refer to it by the official name in UEFA and not the russified name. Ukraine is an independent country and has been so for over 18 years. For a political scientist this should be easy to understand.

FF (rsssf.com)

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Dina April 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

Your point could be perfectly well made without the personal attack…but then again you know that. You just got a bit of a jolly in at the end. Congratulations.

But since you clearly asked so NICELY, I shall make the change.

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Fedya_Fussball April 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Thanks for implementing the correction…

I know that political scientists have thick skin and that the comment was made in jest, not so much that I was jolly but that I was hoping for a reaction – good or otherwise.

I’ll continue following and referencing your updates.

Cheers,
FF

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pelsmaker May 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

the 2nd in the Belgium pro league is KAA Gent

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