Germany on Verge of Winning 4th Champions League Spot
|If you follow soccer statistics, then surely you must know about Bert Kassies' UEFA Coefficients site. I'm a big fan, and I follow it closely. The major storyline for this season is the race for third in the country coefficients. That's important because only the top three countries get four teams in the Champions League, and Germany is about to overtake Italy for third.|
Each year, each country's teams win a certain number of points in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, and the results are divided by the number of teams playing in Europe. That gives us each country's coefficient for the season. The overall country ranking is determined by five years worth of those.
Since 2001, the top three teams in the ranking have been England/Italy/Spain in various orders. But it became apparent after last season that Germany had a great chance to jump past Italy. Here's the 2009 country ranking:
Italy had a large advantage over Germany in 04/05 and 05/06, but those two years were next to fall off. From 06-09, Germany had a 2.134 point advantage, which meant that Italy would have to outperform Germany by that amount in 09/10 and 10/11 to keep that spot.
As a result of that, many people were expecting Germany to be third by the end of the 10/11 season. However, they've exceeded expectations this year and have nearly made up the 2.786 point gap that they started the season with. So they very well could be in front at the end of this season, which means a fourth Champions League place in 2011/12 (there's a gap of a year in which year's ranking is used).
Let's jump to the current standings, the incomplete 2010 country ranking:
This season Germany has the top score of any country, while Italy is the worst of the top five. That Juventus-Bayern match may have been key. We can thank also thank Clint Dempsey for the wonder goal against Juventus.
As it stands now, both the Champions League and Europa League are in the semifinals. Germany has Hamburg and Bayern left (both favored against Fulham and Lyon), while Italy just has Inter (who have to deal with Barcelona).
Bert Kassies forum user "JK" has figured out the amount of points necessary that those teams must win for Germany to overtake Italy regardless of how Inter does, and I've reposted that list below, One more thing to explain first. UEFA points aren't the same as normal W-L-D points. For the purposes of these coefficients, a win = 2 pts, draw = 1 pt, and bonus points are awarded for reaching various stages. 1 bonus point is awarded for reaching the final (and none for winning).
So Inter (and Italy) has three games remaining max, and they can win a maximum of 7 points (3 wins + 1 bonus point). If they get the max, then Germany will need 9 points to have a higher five year coefficient and the 4th Champions League spot.
Here's the chart:
If Inter fails to advance (0-2 pts), then it's pretty much game over. Wouldn't a Inter-Bayern final with everything on the line be absolutely fascinating? And not just because it would make the media actually pay attention to this story...
As a neutral, I like Germany way more than Italy and I'll be cheering for them to get third place. Then again, as a USA fan I'd like to see Dempsey and Fulham win. In my perfect scenario, both would happen.