This season's Champions League qualifying explained

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

Celtic celebrate a pre-season friendly goal
Celtic celebrate a pre-season friendly goal ©Sportsfile

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 took place in Gibraltar, with the 12 June draw determining the semi-final line-up. The two semi-final winners progressed to the 29 June final, with the overall victors, Kosovo's Drita, proceeding to the first qualifying round.

Losing teams: the losers of both the semi-finals and the final transferred 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: 32 (including preliminary round winners Drita)

How it works
There were 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: transferred 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.

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