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Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt book Champions League group stage place

Eintracht Frankfurt have booked a UEFA Champions League group stage place as UEFA Europa League winners.

Frankfurt's Daichi Kamada and Makoto Hasebe get their hands on the trophy
Frankfurt's Daichi Kamada and Makoto Hasebe get their hands on the trophy Getty Images

As the winners of the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League, Eintracht Frankfurt have the added bonus of gaining automatic entry into the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Frankfurt have never featured in the Champions League, with their only season in the European Cup coming in 1959/60 when they made it all the way to the final.

Were the Europa League winners always guaranteed a Champions League place?

The rule was first introduced in the 2014/15 season – for access to the 2015/16 competition – though winners were initially assured only of a Champions League play-off spot, going straight into the group stage if either themselves or the Champions League holders had already qualified via their domestic league. That, in fact, always happened in the three seasons that particular rule existed. In 2017/18, it switched to automatic entry for the 2018/19 season.

What if the winners had already qualified via their domestic league?

2021 final highlights: Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United (11-10 pens)

If the Europa League winners had already qualified for the group stage via their domestic league, the third-placed team of the fifth-ranked association – currently France – would have entered the group stage.

In the three campaigns prior to last season, when the Spanish Liga's seventh-placed club Villarreal triumphed, Europa League winners Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea and Sevilla had already qualified via their domestic league, meaning that France duly gained another group stage ticket.

Who has benefited so far?

2014/15: Winners Sevilla (finished fifth in Liga)
2015/16: Winners Sevilla (seventh in Liga)
2016/17: Winners Manchester United (sixth in Premier League)
2017/18Lyon
2018/19: Lyon
2019/20: Rennes
2020/21: Winners Villarreal (seventh in Liga)
2021/22: Frankfurt (11th in Bundesliga)

Please note that the associations' allocation of places may change. In addition, the conclusive access list is subject to UEFA's final approval.