Bundesliga winners Bayer Leverkusen are guaranteed UEFA Champions League football in 2024/25. - © David Ramos/Getty Images
Bundesliga winners Bayer Leverkusen are guaranteed UEFA Champions League football in 2024/25. - © David Ramos/Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen's 2024/25 UEFA Champions League seeding explained


Bayer Leverkusen will not automatically be seeded in pot 1 when the draw for next season's revamped UEFA Champions League is made, despite winning the 2023/24 Bundesliga title.

In past editions, the Champions League and Europa League holders, along with national league title winners from the best ranked European leagues, have been drawn in pot 1. However, a competition revamp means changes for the pre-draw seeding system, which will instead be based on a team's performances over the previous five seasons of European football, and their resultant UEFA ranking.

Although dethroned in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich - assuming they finish in the Bundesliga's top four - will be among the top nine seeded clubs, as they are currently second in the UEFA rankings. However, it's unrealistic to expect Leverkusen to join them. Fourteenth in the coefficient table, Xabi Alonso's ensemble are more likely to be drawn in pot 2. The Europa League winner - which could yet be Leverkusen - no longer receives top seeding in the new format, either.

As for the rest of the Bundesliga's top-four contenders, VfB Stuttgart would go into pot 4, having not played UEFA competition group stage football since 2012/13. RB Leipzig are seventh in the current UEFA rankings, though, so would sneak into pot 1. Borussia Dortmund are fifth domestically, but 13th in the UEFA rankings (pot 2). 

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen's title-winning highlights

Four could become five

Due to the Bundesliga's UEFA coefficient ranking, three of those four Bundesliga clubs will follow Leverkusen into the newly expanded 36-team Champions League. However, there is a possibility that a fifth makes the grade.

Two of the additional four berths in the new format will be given to the associations with the highest club coefficient from the previous season (in this case, 2023/24). Those two associations will each earn one more automatic place behind those clubs that have already qualified directly.

As of 12 April 2024, Italy's Serie A (18.428) leads the Bundesliga (16.785), just narrowly ahead of the English Premier League (16.750).

How European qualification works in the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich won their sixth UEFA Champions League title in 2019/20. - Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via Getty Images

New format explained

No matter the final constellation, teams will play eight matches in the new league phase, instead of competing in eight groups of four. They will no longer face three opponents twice – home and away – but will instead face fixtures against eight different teams, playing half of those matches at home and half of them on the road. The four seeding pots will determine the eight different opponents. Each team will then be drawn to play two opponents from each pot, playing one match against a team from each pot at home, and one away.

The results of each match will decide the overall ranking in the new league. The top eight will qualify directly for the round of 16. The teams finishing in 9th to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition. Seeding will apply, with teams finishing 9th to 16th facing teams placed 17th to 24th. The eight play-off winners will then compete in the round of 16 against one of the top-eight league finishers.

From the round of 16 onwards, the competition will continue to follow its existing format of two-legged knockout ties, culminating in a one-off final at a neutral venue.

Watch: The Munich stadium experience

The draw for the league phase will be made on 29 August 2024. The final will be played at Bayern's Allianz Arena on 31 May 2025.