by Catherine Paquette
Above: Last season’s Champions League winners Barcelona list the trophy. Photo: David Lidstrom/Getty Images
The UEFA Women’s Champion’s League starts this week. Under changes by UEFA, it will now follow a different format compared to previous years, transforming how the competition will occur.
The competition will start with a group stage qualification for the competition, split into two rounds. Winners of the first round will be included in the group of teams that will be competing in the second round. The winners of the second round proceed to a six match group stage followed by knock out rounds.
The group stage qualification will follow two pathways: the champions path and the league path. The different pathways were conceived to ensure that at least ten countries are represented in the sixteen team group stage. Where each team enters depends on how they qualified, either as champions in their individual country or further down the league table in countries with more than one UEFA Women’s Champions League place, as well as their UEFA country coefficient.
The first of the two rounds starts midweek in the form of mini-tournaments. Forty-three teams are entering this stage under the champions path, being split up into 11 groups of four and one group of three. A draw decided which teams would meet for the first match in each group. The losers of the two matches in each group will then meet in a third place game. The winners of of the first matchups in each group will meet to determine the first placed team.
The league path will be nearly identical to the championship path. Sixteen teams have been split into four groups and drawn for the first match. The losers will also play for third place while the winners of the first match will play in the first-place game. The eleven winners of the championship path and the four winners of the league path then proceed to round two of the group stage qualification.
Round two will start at the end of August. It will comprise of the eleven round championship winners, as well as three other country champions who enter directly in round two. They will be drawn for two-legged ties, with the seven winners proceeding to the group stage. The four round one league winners alongside six other league path teams enter directly into round two. They will also be drawn and play two-legged ties with the five winners proceeding to the group stage. Four more country champions will also join the twelve round two winners in the group stage.
The group stage will split the sixteen teams into four groups of four. All teams will play each other in home and away games this autumn for a total of six group stage games per team. The top two teams in each group then proceed to the quarter final knock out stages. The knock out phase will remain unchanged with two-legged home and away matches prior to a one game final.
The full listing of the match-ups can be found at the following link: https://www.uefa.com/womenschampionsleague/fixtures-results/?fbclid=IwAR2QdgfS0ybjUohsdGVWolrt6zptnpkBQMwjM4GXUEChKRrtcHIAvg1y5u4#/dw/1294
The tournament will be available from the group stage onwards on DAZN and for free on DAZN’s YouTube Channel.