This season's Champions League qualifying explained

Struggling to get to grips with the rejigged UEFA Champions League qualifying system? Allow us to explain.

Scottish champions Celtic will begin their campaign in the first qualifying round
Scottish champions Celtic will begin their campaign in the first qualifying round ©Getty Images

Qualifying for the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League spans more than two months, involves 53 teams and will entail 91 fixtures in all.

THIS SEASON'S CALENDAR

Preliminary round

Draw: 12 June
Fixtures: 26 & 29 June

Teams: 4
Already known: 4

The preliminary round takes place in Gibraltar
The preliminary round takes place in Gibraltar©UEFA.com

How it works
This new mini-tournament will take place in Gibraltar, with the 12 June draw determining the semi-final line-up. The two semi-final winners will progress to the 29 June final, with the overall victor proceeding to the first qualifying round.

Losing teams: the losers of both the semi-finals and the final transfer to the champions path of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.

First qualifying round

Draw: 19 June
Fixtures: 10/11 & 17/18 July

Teams: 32
Already known: 31
To be decided: 1 (preliminary round winner)

How it works
There will be 16 two-legged ties, with the winners going into the champions path of the second qualifying round.

The competition branding has had a lick of paint
The competition branding has had a lick of paint©UEFA.com

Losing teams: transfer to the champions path of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.

Second qualifying round

At this stage, qualifying splits into two paths – the champions path and the league path. The champions path is for domestic title holders; the league path is for non-champions.

Draw: 19 June
Fixtures: 24/25 July & 31 July/1 August

Champions path

Teams: 20
Already known: 4
To be decided: 16 (first qualifying round winners)

How it works
There will be ten two-legged ties, with the winners advancing to the champions path of the third qualifying round.

Watch highlights of the 2018 final
Watch highlights of the 2018 final

Losing teams: transfer to the champions path of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

League path

Teams: 4
Already known: 4

How it works
There will be two two-legged ties, with the winners going into the league path of the third qualifying round.

Losing teams: transfer to the main path of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

Third qualifying round

Draw: 23 July
Fixtures: 7/8 & 14 August

Champions path

Salzburg start in the third qualifying round
Salzburg start in the third qualifying round©Getty Images

Teams: 12
Already known: 2
To be decided: 10 (second qualifying round champions path winners)

How it works
There will be six two-legged ties, with the winners proceeding to the champions path of the play-offs.

Losing teams: transfer to the champions path of the UEFA Europa League play-offs.

League path

Teams: 8
Already known: 6
To be decided: 2 (second qualifying round league path winners)

How it works
There will be four two-legged ties, with the winners going into the league path of the play-offs.

Losing teams: transfer to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Play-offs

The play-off draw is on 6 August
The play-off draw is on 6 August©Sportsfile

Draw: 6 August
Fixtures: 21/22 & 28/29 August

Champions path

Teams: 8
Already known: 2
To be decided: 6 (third qualifying round champions path winners)

How it works
There will be four two-legged ties, with the winners progressing to the group stage.

Losing teams: transfer to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

League path

Teams: 4
Already known: 0
To be decided: 4 (third qualifying round league path winners)

How it works
There will be two two-legged ties, with the winners advancing to the group stage.

Losing teams: transfer to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Top