Road to London 2011: A look at next year’s Champions League campaign
So it is time to look ahead to next year’s edition of Europe’s elite competition – one which should be very special to the English clubs.
In case you did not know, next season’s Champions League final will be held on May 28, 2011 at Wembley Stadium, yes our own Wembley Stadium. Thus, for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s era, the winner of the UEFA Champions League will be crowned in the Gunners’ own city.
As usual, Arsenal will be one of the top eight seeded teams in the draw for the group stages along with Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Chelsea, Man. United, lnter Milan, AC Milan and Seville (should they qualify after finishing 4th in La Liga).
So below is a low-down on which teams will be representing Europe’s main leagues next year.
England (4 spots)
With Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal taking the top three spots in the Premier League, Tottenham will have to see out a two-legged qualifying tie after finishing fourth to deprive Liverpool of next year’s special ‘Road to Wembley’ experience.
Spain (4 spots)
La Liga’s top three Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia – who replace Atletico Madrid from last year – all secured a place in next term’s competition but fourth-place Sevilla will need to qualify.
German (3 spots)
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will be joined by Schalke 04 for the automatic spots while Werder Bremen will have to overcome the qualifying round. Neither Wolfsburg nor Stuttgart – who were involved last term – will be back in the competition this year after finishing 8th and 6th respectively.
France (3 spots)
In France, Bordeaux missed the chance to repeat last season’s Champions League feat as Lyon and Olympic Marseilles took the two automatic spots while Auxerre earned a place in the qualifying round.
Italy (4 spots)
Inter Milan, Roma and AC Milan booked a place in the competition for sure, while Sampdoria face qualifier. Last season’s contenders Juventus and Fiorentina though, will be absent next year.