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The race for fifth Champions League place: Tottenham blow as Premier League lose ground

The race for fifth Champions League place: Tottenham blow as Premier League lose ground

It was a bad night for the Premier League in the race for an extra Champions League spot.

Defeats for West Ham and Liverpool, the former to Bayer Leverkusen and the latter a shock home loss to Atalanta, saw Germany edge above England in UEFA's coefficient rankings.

Italy have all but secured one of the two extra spots leaving England and Germany to fight it out for the second, which is potentially bad news for Tottenham and Aston Villa and whoever finishes fifth in the league.

Out of five English teams remaining in European competition, only Villa won this week. With Manchester City and Arsenal settling for draws against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively.

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Germany have just three teams left in competition, but much is expected of unbeaten Leverkusen in the Europa League and Bayern look in a strong position to knock out Arsenal in the Champions League.

How it works

With an expanded 36-team Champions League premiering next season, two extra ‘European Performance Spots’ are being handed out.

These are given to the two highest-performing leagues based on their Uefa coefficient.

The coefficient is determined by the average performance of each nation’s clubs in European competition that season, with points given out for each result.

England have finished in the top two in four of the last five seasons.

Current standings

1. Italy, 18.428

2. Germany, 16.785

3. England, 16.750

4. Spain, 15.062

5. France, 14.750

6. Belgium, 13.600

7. Czechia, 13.500

8. Turkey, 11.500

9. Portugal, 11.000

10. Netherlands, 10.000

Liverpool’s shock home loss to Atalanta has thrown a spanner in the works (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Liverpool’s shock home loss to Atalanta has thrown a spanner in the works (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Where England can pick up points 

With five English teams still remaining in Europe, it is theoretically possible, although highly unlikely, that England could still pip Italy for first place in the rankings.

Arsenal’s second leg against Bayern Munich is vital, as is West Ham’s against Leverkusen, as this sees direct competition between English and German sides.

City, Liverpool, and Villa all need to progress to boost England’s chances of gaining the extra spot.

Where Germany can pick up points

Two of the three German sides face English competitors in decisive matches for their Uefa coefficient.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund face Spanish opposition. They are hoping to overturn a 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid next Tuesday.

Where Italy can pick up points

Although Italy has no representative in the Champions League, they have three teams remaining in the latter stages of the Europa and Conference League

Roma and AC Milan drew each other in the quarter-finals, meaning at least one Italian team is guaranteed to be in the semi-finals.

Fiorentina are also still in the Europa Conference League. They drew with Czech club Viktoria Plzen on Thursday.