Which teams are in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League? Confirmed clubs, qualification rules and exceptions

The 2021-22 Champions League looks all set for a thrilling climax, but for many clubs thoughts are already beginning to turn to next year’s competition.

With four teams still in the hunt ahead of this season’s semifinals, it’s time to take a look at how next year’s competition will be constructed.

There are a lot of questions still to be answered, but a lot is already known as well.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Villarreal are the teams left in the competition this season. Three of those teams have already confirmed a place in next year’s tournament too, based solely on their domestic league table position, while Villarreal could also confirm their place in the 2022-23 edition by lifting this season’s trophy.

Here Sporting News brings you everything you need to know to get ready for the 2022-23 Champions League.

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When does the 2022-23 Champions League start?

Once this year’s Champions League winner is crowned on May 28, the planning for next season’s competition begins almost immediately.

Remember, a worldwide club football break is being taken from late November through to late December, to make room for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

That will condense the schedule and push matches on all fronts back later than usual.

Champions League 2022-23 key dates:

Qualifying

  • Preliminary round semifinals: June 21, 2022
  • Preliminary round final: June 24, 2022
  • First qualifying round: July 5-6 (1st Leg) & July 12-13 (2nd Leg)
  • Second qualifying round: July 19-20 (1st Leg) & July 26-27 (2nd Leg)
  • Third qualifying round: Aug. 2-3 (1st Leg) & Aug. 9 (2nd Leg)
  • Playoffs: Aug. 16-17 (1st Leg), Aug. 23-24 (2nd Leg)

Group stage: 

  • Matchday 1: Sept. 6-7, 2022
  • Matchday 2: Sept. 13-14, 2022
  • Matchday 3: Oct. 4-5, 2022
  • Matchday 4: Oct. 11-12, 2022
  • Matchday 5: Oct. 25-26, 2022
  • Matchday 6: Nov. 1-2, 2022

Knockout phase (played in 2023):

  • Round of 16: Feb. 14, 15, 21, 22 (1st Leg) & March 7, 8, 14, 15 (2nd Legs)
  • Quarterfinals: April 11-12 (1st Leg) & April 18-19 (2nd Leg)
  • Semi-finals: May 9-10 (1st Leg), & May 16-17 (2nd Leg)
  • Final: June 10, 2023 

MORE: Updated Premier League schedule for the remainder of 2021-22 season

When are the 2022-23 Champions League draws?

The draw schedule for next season’s competition begins in June, just 10 days after the 2021-22 final is held. 

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Champions League 2022-23 draw schedule:

  • Preliminary round: June 7, 2022
  • First qualifying round: June 14, 2022
  • Second qualifying round: June 15, 2022
  • Third qualifying round: July 18, 2022
  • Playoff round: Aug. 2, 2022
  • Group stage: Aug. 25, 2022
  • Round of 16: Nov. 7, 2022
  • Quarterfinals and semifinals: TBC

Which teams have qualified for the 2022-23 Champions League?

Here are all the countries with multiple teams in the Champions League next season. All other European countries not listed have just one place, reserved for the domestic league champion.

2022-23 Champions League teams by nation

Countries listed in order of UEFA coefficient

Nation Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
England Man City Liverpool TBD TBD
Spain Real Madrid TBD TBD TBD
Italy Inter Milan AC Milan TBD TBD
Germany Bayern Munich Borussia Dortmund TBD TBD
France Paris Saint-Germain TBD TBD**  —
Portugal Porto Sporting CP/TBD Sporting CP/TBD**  —
Netherlands TBD TBD**  —  —
Russia TBD TBD**  —  —
Belgium TBD TBD**  —  —
Austria RB Salzburg TBD***  —  —
Scotland Celtic/Rangers* Celtic/Rangers***  —  —
Ukraine TBD* TBD***  —  —
Turkey TBD** TBD***  —  —
Denmark TBD** TBD***  —  —
Cyprus TBD*** TBD***  —  —

* Team entering in playoff round
** Team entering in 3rd qualifying round
*** Team entering in 2nd qualifying round
**** Team entering in 1st qualifying round
***** Team entering in preliminary round
† Russian teams have been indefinitely banned from European competition and UEFA has not determined how to handle these spots as of yet

MORE: Champions League top goalscorers 2021-22: Updated rankings

How Champions League places are determined

Every year, UEFA shuffles the deck using updated UEFA league coefficient rankings.

These rankings are calculated each year based on how teams from each domestic league perform in the Champions League in recent history.

The table above is listed in order of UEFA coefficient. It is no surprise that England is the top-ranked league, with an English club winning two of the last three titles up to this season’s competition, and seeing four different clubs reach the final across the last three competitions.

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Spain, Italy, and Germany round out the top four, and each of those leagues earn four Champions League places.

Nations ranked five and six, France and Portugal in this year’s edition, earn three places, while leagues seven through 15 earn two.

The individual coefficient ranking within those sectors determine what stage each team enters into.

What happens if the Champions League winners also qualify for next season via their domestic league placing?

The Champions League winners are guaranteed a place in next year’s competition regardless of their domestic league finish.

This year, the 2021-22 semifinals already consist of three teams — Manchester City, Liverpool, and Real Madrid — who have already qualified for 2022-23 via their respective domestic leagues.

Villarreal are the only team left this year who haven’t booked a return visit next season, and they likely won’t finish in the top four in Spain.

So, should Villarreal win the 2021-22 Champions League, then Spain would receive five teams in next year’s competition — its four domestic qualifiers plus Villarreal as defending champions.

But if Real, Liverpool or City win this year, their country does not receive an extra spot. Instead, the highest-ranked nation without a club in the group stage would be bumped up, and their champions would go directly through to the groups.

This year, that league is Scotland, meaning its eventual champion (guaranteed to be either Celtic or Rangers) would be handed a group stage place, instead of entering at the playoff round.

In that scenario, the rest of the competition is reconfigured in the same way, with each highest-ranked nation without a berth in the higher round being bumped up.

That would see the Turkish champion moved into the playoff round to take Scotland’s place, with the champions of Cyprus jumping into the third qualifying round, and the Croatian champions bumped into the second qualifying round.

The preliminary round wouldn’t be reconfigured, as there are only four teams, and the removal of one would unbalance the schedule.

UEFA’s regulations don’t indicate that the additional Champions League berth would be filled. That seems to suggest that one less team would enter the competition in this instance.

There are 79 teams guaranteed to play in the Champions League. That figure becomes 80 if the previous season’s winner doesn’t qualify domestically.

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If UEFA did decide to fill that 80th slot regardless, it would likely go to the second-place finisher in the Serbian league, currently the highest-ranking league on coefficient with just a single Champions League place.

How does Russia’s ban affect Champions League places?

It’s possible that a further reshuffle will be required for next season’s competition.

Due to the war in Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA announced in February that Russia would be indefinitely banned from competition on both an international and a club level.

Unless that situation changes, its domestic league won’t be certified, and therefore its places in European competition are in question.

As a result, it’s highly likely that Russian teams will be barred from European competition while the ban is in effect, and their places in the 2022-23 Champions League will be revoked.

When contacted, UEFA declined to comment on how the governing body would resolve the competitive structure of the Champions League in the absence of the two Russian qualifiers.

One scenario is that a reshuffling similar to the above would take place.

Should Russia’s two teams be disqualified, it would leave one gap in the group stage and one gap in the third qualifying round. The group stage place would likely be filled by the highest-ranking qualifier left in the playoff round (Scotland). However, if a Scottish team has already been elevated due to the champion qualifying directly through their league position — which is likely — the places could go to the next-highest ranked nation.

That, ironically enough, would be Ukraine, who whose league champion might end up being bumped into the group stage.

In a further complication, though, Ukraine’s own places in the competition will take some resolving, as the league has been suspended since February 24.

Where is the 2022-23 Champions League final?

Once all that is worked out, the 2022-23 competition will finally be able to get under way, and all roads will lead to Turkey.

The 2022-23 final is due to be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, a place which hold special memories for Liverpool.

The venue was the location for their famous 2005 Champions League triumph, where they fought back from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan.