As the domestic leagues in Europe head toward an end, plenty of teams are already clinching berths in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League. Each league has different requirements for qualification, with the majority of spots being awarded to the top finishers in each domestic league.
Here’s a look at who has qualified for the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League group stage as of May 19, 2022.
Manchester City (EPL, England)
How they got there: Man City has been dominant all season long in EPL play, sitting on top of the table since early December. They clinched a berth a while ago, as they’re 17 points clear of third-place Chelsea heading into Matchday 36. They’re followed closely by Liverpool, who sit just one point behind City and have clinched a spot of their own.
Liverpool FC (EPL, England)
How they got there: As already mentioned, Liverpool has stayed hot on Man City’s trail for basically the entire second half of the EPL season. Sitting just barely behind City for weeks, they also clinched a spot in next season’s UCL early on since both City and the Reds have been so far ahead of the rest of the pack in the second half of the season. They made it to the final in 2022, and will face off against Real Madrid on May 28 to determine who will be crowned the kings of Europe this year.
Chelsea FC (EPL, England)
How they got there: The Blues locked up their UCL berth just days before the end of the EPL season, after Arsenal fell to Newcastle, officially putting the Gunners out of top four contention. Chelsea will be making their fourth consecutive Champions League appearance in pursuit of their third UCL title. They lifted the trophy for the first time in 2012, followed by their win in 2021 after defeating Manchester City in the final. Though they’ve seen some turmoil this season surrounding the exit of Roman Abramovich and the sanctions placed on him by the UK government, but the Blues have survived and will make another run at the UCL trophy next season.
Real Madrid (La Liga, Spain)
How they got there: Real Madrid locked up the first place spot in La Liga well before the season was near its end as they just dominated the league this year. Karim Benzema has been a godsend for Los Blancos this season, knocking in 26 goals through just 30 matches as he’ll easily cruise to a Golden Boot victory. La Liga awards their top four finishers with a UCL berth, so the remaining three will be decided as the season nears its end.
FC Barcelona (La Liga, Spain)
How they got there: It took Barca a little longer than Real Madrid, but they were able to clinch a spot by securing a top four finish in La Liga play. It’s their 19th consecutive UCL appearance as they’re in pursuit of their sixth European title. Their last one came in 2015 when they defeated Juventus 3-1 in the final match. They’re led by the likes of Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who were the top scorers at the club through the domestic campaign in 2021-22.
Atletico Madrid (La Liga, Spain)
How they got there: Atletico Madrid is making their 10th consecutive appearance in UEFA Champions League, as they officially clinched their spot with a 2-0 win over Elche on May 11. Atletico is led by Angel Correa and Luis Suarez, who both lead the team in scoring heading into the end of the La Liga season. Boasting other superstars like Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, and Yannick Carrasco, they’ll look for their first-ever Champions League trophy as they hope to make a deep run in 2022-23.
Sevilla FC (La Liga, Spain)
How they got there: Sevilla locked up the fourth spot in La Liga before the season was over, finishing just ahead of Real Betis and behind Atletico Madrid. They were led in scoring by Rafa Mir, who logged nine goals in 33 appearances. Ivan Rakitic logged six assists in 34 appearances, leading the team in that column. They’re making their third consecutive appearance in Champions League after being eliminated in the group stage in 2021-22.
AC Milan (Serie A, Italy)
How they got there: Serie A’s top four finishers are awarded with a berth into the UCL, and AC Milan has already secured a top four finish as they sit on 77 points with just three matches left to play in the season. Rafael Leao (10) and Olivier Giroud (9) lead the way in scoring for the team, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sitting on eight goals through 21 matches played.
Inter Milan (Serie A, Italy)
How they got there: Last year’s Serie A champions currently sit in second place, just two points behind AC Milan as nearly everyone in the league has just three matches left to play. They hold the goal differential tiebreaker amongst all top four teams at the moment, so if they were to finish level with AC Milan, they would win the title for the second year in a row, making it their 20th Serie A championship.
Napoli (Serie A, Italy)
How they got there: Napoli secured a top four finish courtesy of elite scorers like Victor Osimhen, Dries Mertens, and Lorenzo Insigne, who all finished with double-digit goal tallies this season. Lorenzo Insigne also led the way in assists for the team, notching nine through just 29 games played before the season even comes to an end. It’s Insigne’s last campaign with Napoli, as he signed a contract with MLS side Toronto FC and will join them in July of this year.
Juventus (Serie A, Italy)
How they got there: Rounding off the top four in Serie A is Juventus, who will be making their 11th consecutive appearance in the tournament. Led by Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, Juve will look to secure their third-ever UCL title after winning the tournament in 1985 and 1996.
Bayern Munich (Bundesliga, Germany)
How they got there: Bayern easily clinched a spot in next season’s UCL tournament as they’ll cruise to their 10th consecutive Bundesliga title this season, notching their 32nd league championship overall. Led by Robert Lewandowski, Bayern is a world giant who has won the UCL title six times, and they’ll look to get back on track for another deep run next season after being upset by Villarreal in the quarterfinals this season.
Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga, Germany)
How they got there: Dortmund booked their 12th consecutive spot in UCL group play by locking up a top four finish in Bundesliga. The black-and-yellow have one UCL title to their name, defeating Juventus in the 1997 final with a 3-1 score. They’re led by Erling Haaland, who has scored a staggering 21 goals in Bundesliga this year at the time of this writing in only 22 appearances for the club.
Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga, Germany)
How they got there: Leverkusen will be making their return to Champions League after missing out on it in the 2020-21 season. They ended up in Europa League instead, and made an exit in the Round of 32 after losing to Young Boys. This season, they qualified for UCL by locking up the No. 3 spot in Bundesliga, behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Patrik Schick led the team in scoring this season with 24 goals, finishing second in total goals scored across the league. Moussa Diaby added 13 goals for Leverkusen, helping his side secure their best Bundesliga finish since the 2015-16 season.
RB Leipzig (Bundesliga, Germany)
How they got there: Leipzig secured a fourth place finish in Bundesliga, which is their worst positioning since they finished sixth in the 2017-18 season. Christopher Nkunku led the team with 20 goals, tied for fourth in the league with FC Koln’s Anthony Modeste. Leipzig finished just one point ahead of Union Berlin after ending their season with a 1-1 draw with relegated side Arminia Bielefeld.
RB Leipzig will be making their fourth overall Champions League appearance, earning their third consecutive berth. The team was founded in 2009, but they didn’t qualify for UCL for the first time until 2017.
Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue One, France)
How they got there: After an early exit in the Round of 16 this season at the hands of Real Madrid, PSG has already locked up their spot in the 2022-23 tournament by clinching the Ligue One championship. Only the top two finishers are awarded berths in the group stage, while the third and fourth spots will head to UCL qualifiers in hopes of landing in the tournament proper. PSG was led by Kylian Mbappe across the board, notching 24 goals and 15 assists in just 32 matches played before the end of the season. They also boast world superstars like Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Ramos on their roster.
FC Porto (Primeira Liga, Portugal)
How they got there: FC Porto makes their return to the Champions League for the 12th consecutive year after securing a top two finish in Primeira Liga. Only the top two finishers get a berth into the group stage, while the third place team in PL will head to UCL qualifiers. FC Porto is led by the likes of Medhi Taremi and Fabio Vieira, who are both dangerous attackers and will help Porto look for their third-ever UCL title next season.
Sporting CP (Primeira Liga, Portugal)
How they got there: Sporting secured a top two finish along with FC Porto, returning to the Champions League for the first time since the 2017-18 season. They spent the last three seasons in Europa League, unable to advance past the Round of 32 in each of those tournament editions. They’re led by Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho, who both will finish the Primeira Liga season with double digit goal tallies.
Red Bull Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga)
How they got there: Red Bull Salzburg booked their 11th consecutive Champions League appearance by securing their ninth-straight domestic league title. The runners up will be sent to UCL qualifiers as only the champion is awarded a berth into the group stage. They’re led by Karim Adeyemi, who scored 17 goals through 24 matches in the regular season.
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukrainian Premier League)
How they got there: After the 2021-22 Ukrainian Premier League season was abandoned due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the top two teams in the table were awarded with berths into the UCL qualification playoffs, which included Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv. After Villarreal was eliminated from the 2021-22 UCL semifinals, it ensured an automatic berth in the group stage for Shakhtar Donetsk since the remaining teams in the tournament already had a spot from their respective domestic league finishes. The spot was passed on to the highest-ranked national league champion who doesn’t already have an automatic berth, thus falling on the shoulders of Shakhtar Donetsk.
AFC Ajax (Eredevisie, Netherlands)
How they got there: Ajax clinched the Eredevisie championship after a big 5-0 win over Heerenveen in the second to last match of the season, putting themselves just out of reach of PSV. This marks Ajax’s sixth Eredevisie title and their 13th consecutive appearance in UEFA Champions League. They’ve won four UCL titles, with the most recent coming in 1994-95 when they defeated AC Milan in the final. Led by Romee Leuchter, they’ll look to find more European success in 2022-23.
Celtic FC (Scottish Premiership, Scotland)
How they got there: Celtic clinched their spot by winning their 52nd overall Scottish title after securing a draw against Dundee United near the end of the season. A point was all they needed to clinch the championship and a UCL spot, and the result was enough to take care of business. Celtic has one European trophy under their belt, winning the European Cup back in 1967 when they took down Serie A side Inter Milan.
Club Brugge KV (Belgian First Division A)
How they got there: Club Brugge sealed their 18th domestic title in the Belgian First Division A, officially clinching the trophy with a 3-1 win over Antwerp in the championship round. They finished second in the regular season, five points behind Union Saint-Gilloise, but were able to string together some good results in the championship playoff to secure the title. Midfieldier Charles De Ketelaere led the team in scoring with 18 goals across all competitions as Brugge will make their eighth consecutive appearance in the UCL group stage.
Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga, Germany)
How they got there: Though they finished 11th in Bundesliga this season, Eintracht Franfkurt clinched a Champions League berth by winning the 2021-22 Europa League title over Scottish side Rangers. After going down 1-0 in the second half, Frankfurt struck back to equalize just eight minutes later. After ending the match 1-1, Frankfurt edged out Rangers 5-4 in a penalty shootout, earning the title of Europa League champions. Rafael Borre led the team in scoring in Bundesliga play, logging nine goals in 31 appearances. Borre added four goals in Europa League, while Daichi Kamada knocked in a team-high five goals in the tournament.
Eintracht will be making their first-ever appearance in UEFA Champions League, although they did feature once in the European Cup in the 1959-60 season. They made it to the final of that tournament before being handily defeated by Real Madrid.