UEFA Champions League – an ‘Explainer’


UEFA is organization that oversees the international soccer leagues in Europe. Each year, the best teams from each country’s top league qualify for its Champions League (CL). (And yes, in world soccer, they mix up the uses of the words like “league” and “cup” compared to how we Americans usually use them. It’s ok.) Bigger, badder leagues get as many as four teams in. Smaller countries may only get one.

It’s the most important annual soccer happening in the world.   And it’s all about to begin.

     “But Noob, you’ve been posting about matchups from the CL for weeks.  Deceiver!”

Slow your roll, Noobite. The first four rounds of this event were considered “qualifying rounds”. It’s just semantics. Little nations’ entries and a few of the big countries’ lesser league teams that squeaked in play in these rounds for the right to enter what is about to now begin – the Group Stage.

European fans don’t really consider CL begun until this stage. 22 of the best teams from the best countries’ leagues only now even begin playing. Ten teams made it here through those Qualifying Rounds. These 32 teams are placed in (more or less) equally-weighted pods of eight. Each pods’ teams will play each other twice. The top two finishers in each pod  advance to the Knockout Stage.

     “Noob, that wasn’t half bad. But I have a feeling you’ve left out lots of tiny details. Who            qualified initially and how. How exactly the teams are drawn for the Group Stage. How many teams each and every league gets and in which round they enter the                                competition…”

Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself. And you ask worthy questions. But I am and this is Noob. This is as far as we go here. You can find lots more in-depth intricacies and details out there on the interwebs. This is enough for you and me, the new-ish American soccer fan, to be able to enjoy the competition and to speak of it with reasonable intelligence and confidence .

Sadly for Noob, one day you may graduate from this humble site. But I will be proud. Not that I’m paying a damn cent for your grad school. Now get out of here before ya’ bother me. * cuffs you in the ear *

Author: Soccernoob

After a year of previewing soccer matches the world over with my own off-brand comedy, I now provide exclusive coverage for the Isle of Sodor Premier League, Championship, and FA Cup. (FC Dryaw 'til I die.)

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