Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich continue to fly the flag for Germany in the 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League, and there is a chance three more Bundesliga teams join them in next year's competition. - © MAGO / Revierfoto - IMAGO / Michaela Merk
Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich continue to fly the flag for Germany in the 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League, and there is a chance three more Bundesliga teams join them in next year's competition. - © MAGO / Revierfoto - IMAGO / Michaela Merk

Will the Bundesliga win a fifth UEFA Champions League spot?


The fifth-placed team in the 2023/24 Bundesliga might be in line for a bonus spot in the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League thanks to the strong performances of German sides in European competitions this season. explains how it could play out...

The battle for spots in the top four - and with it the chance to play Champions League football - is usually one of the most thrilling storylines in the final weeks of a Bundesliga season, and this year is no exception, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig looking like taking their battle for fourth to the final weeks of the campaign.

While the risk that one of those talented sides will have to miss out on the Champions League next season will be the source of great drama over the final eight weeks, there is a chance that the campaign has a happy end for both, thanks to the prospect of an extra fifth spot in the Champions League.

Jadon Sancho's early goal in Borussia Dortmund's UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg against PSV sent his side on the way to qualification - and has helped the chances of the Bundesliga having five representatives in the 2024/25 Champions League. - Leon Kuegeler

Champions League organisers UEFA are awarding an extra qualification spot to the two best-performing leagues in the current season according to its own co-efficient rankings. There is a complicated points system behind that, but the more wins and further a league's teams go in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, the higher that league climbs in the rankings.

The Bundesliga has been in the top two all season, now just ahead of England's Premier League (16.750). The Bundesliga has a coefficient of 16.785, just behind Italy's Serie A (18.428) in first place. 

Current UEFA association club coefficients (as of 12 April 2024)

  1. Italy - 18.428
  2. Germany - 16.785
  3. England 16.750
  4. Spain - 15.062
  5. France - 14.750

Florian Wirtz and Bayer Leverkusen have hopes of going all the way in the 2023/2024 UEFA Europa League. - IMAGO/Ulrich Hufnagel

There are still lots of precious points to play for with the three UEFA competitions at the quarter-final stages. The Bundesliga still has three representatives with Bayern Munich and Dortmund in the Champions League plus Leverkusen in the Europa League, but its closest competitors for the top two also have multiple teams competing for continental honours.

Key to Germany holding off the challenge from England will be Bayern's clash with Arsenal - the first leg of which ended 2-2 in London - and Leverkusen's battle with West Ham United; wins for the Bundesliga sides in these encounters would lessen the impact of potential wins for Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa. And Dortmund's second leg with Atlético Madrid will also be key in putting some more important coefficient points in the bank after their narrow 2-1 first-leg loss.

Any other combination of results, though, could lead to the Bundesliga slipping to third in the rankings.

It is all hypotheticals at this stage, and we will therefore have to wait until the UEFA Champions League final on 1 June until the recipients of the two extra spots in the revamped competition next season are confirmed. Should the Bundesliga claim one, whichever side finishes fifth would have extra reason to be proud of their successes in Europe earlier in the season (if it is Dortmund, Leipzig or Frankfurt) and appreciate the European exploits of their domestic rivals. Indeed, a scenario whereby Dortmund fans may have to root for their rivals from Munich to lift the trophy with the big ears could play out following the conclusion of the domestic league seasons, for the Westphalians to benefit.

It would not be the first time the Bundesliga has sent five representatives into Europe's elite club competition: Eintracht Frankfurt's 2021/22 Europa League victory saw them earn Champions League qualification for 2022/23 in addition to four sides that qualified via the league. 

But with the competition revamped to launch with an expanded League Phase next season, with an additional two matches guaranteed per participant, the rewards of taking a pew at European football's top table next term are greater than ever before, and an additional club also means a greater chance of securing the points to enable a fifth club to qualify again in 2025/26, and so on, and so on.