UEFA Champions League qualifying explained

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

Dundalk started in the first qualifying round
Dundalk started in the first qualifying round ©Sportsfile

Qualifying for the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League spans more than two months; here's how it works.

THIS SEASON'S CALENDAR

Preliminary round

UEFA.tv: Always Football. Always On.
UEFA.tv: Always Football. Always On.

Draw: 11 June
Fixtures: 25 & 28 June

Teams: 4
Already known: 4

How it works
This mini-tournament took place in Kosovo. The two semi-final winners progressed to the 28 June final, with hosts Feronikeli emerging as overall victors to progress to the first qualifying round.

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

First qualifying round

Draw: 18 June
Fixtures: 9/10 & 16/17 July

Teams: 32
Already known: 32 (including preliminary round winners Feronikeli)

See how Liverpool won the 2019 final
See how Liverpool won the 2019 final

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

Losing teams: transferred to the champions path of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, except for the tie between Celtic and Sarajevo. An additional draw decided that the losers of this tie would progress to the third qualifying round, due to the rebalancing of the access list following Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions League and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage via the domestic league.

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 teams who clinched spots behind the champions in their leagues.

Draw: 19 June
Fixtures: 23/24 July & 30/31 July

Champions path

Top ten goals of the 2018/19 season
Top ten goals of the 2018/19 season

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.

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

Watch Champions League stars at EURO 2020!
Watch Champions League stars at EURO 2020!

Draw: 22 July
Fixtures: 6/7 & 13 August

Champions path

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)

A total of 53 teams are involved in qualifying this season
A total of 53 teams are involved in qualifying this season©UEFA via Getty Images

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

Draw: 5 August
Fixtures: 20/21 & 27/28 August

Champions path

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

The final will be held at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı in Istanbul
The final will be held at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı in Istanbul©Getty Images

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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