Celtic and Rangers: Champions League qualification, when they enter, draw dates, fixture list, prize money
The teams meet at Celtic Park this weekend and it could be another significant step for the home side towards retaining the Premiership title they won last season. Doing so will provide a substantial advantage regarding Europe’s elite club competition.
Here are all the details required for the 2023/24 Champions League...
Which stage do the Scottish clubs enter?
For the second season running Scotland has two Champions League spots. The winners, likely Celtic with their nine-point lead, will enter at the group stage, as they did last season. The side which finishes second in the Premiership will enter in the third qualifying round in the League Path.
What are the key dates?
Due to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, this season's European tournaments began slightly earlier and were condensed. The group stages begin two weeks later with the six games spread between September and December. Qualifying largely begins one week later than this season.
For the Premiership winners, the draw for the group stage is on August 31. Games take place on September 19-20, October 3-4 & 24-25, November 7-8 & 28-29 and December 12-13.
The runners-up will discover their third qualifying round opponents on July 24 and play them over two legs on August 8-9 and 15. They will have already found out their prospective play-off opponents with the draw scheduled for August 7. Those games are on August 22-23 and 29-30.
The group stage
In a group of four, the teams play each other home and away. After six matches, the top two progress to the last 16 with the knockout stage beginning in February and the draw on December 18. Should either Celtic or Rangers finish third they will drop into the Europa League.
With it being only April, there are only a handful of teams who have been confirmed in some of the earlier rounds. Rangers, provided they don’t overturn the nine-point gap, could face some tricky opposition in qualifying as they did this season, coming through ties against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and PSV Eindhoven. The League Path will feature runners-up from Serbia, the Netherlands, Austria as well as the third-place team from France and Portugal with possible opponents from Ukraine, Switzerland, Belgium and Greece.
Seeding will be huge in determining opponents and the difficulty of opposition and groups. Rangers were seeded in qualification but, like Celtic, were in pot 4 in the group stage.
Both sides were expected to land more than £20million from their group stage involvement this season, aided by £13.7million base fee for being one of 32 sides in the group stage. It has been revealed that Rangers picked up a hefty £18.1million from their run to the Europa League final. It indicates just how lucrative reaching the Champions League groups can be.
This will be the last time the Champions League will be played in its current format. From 2024/25 the competition will have 36 rather than 32 sides.
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