The Premier League is looking good to keep hold of its fourth UEFA Champions League slot while Real Madrid's lead in the club rankings is up to double figures.
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February was a good month for England in their battle with Italy to end the season in the top three of the UEFA association club coefficient rankings, the key positional battle ahead of the 2017/18 competition allocations.
Having slipped behind Germany in the UEFA association club coefficient rankings, England are now looking to hold off Italy and retain the all-important third position that will ensure four UEFA Champions League berths in 2017/18 (three automatic group stage and one qualifying place).
The associations' positions in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League access list are determined on the basis of the associations' coefficients established at the finish of the 2015/16 campaign, on the basis of the associations' coefficients from seasons 2011/12 to 2015/16.
Following last season's rankings, which decided the allocations for 2016/17, England were second behind Spain and ahead of Germany in the table, calculated over a five-year period, ensuring this season's Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga each have the four UEFA Champions League slots. However, the 2010/11 campaign, which was especially good for England and weak for fourth-placed Italy, is dropping out of the reckoning, meaning Serie A began 2015/16 just three points behind England while the Bundesliga has already overtaken the Premier League.
England's teams performed marginally better than Italy's in the group stages of both senior club competitions, and this month's results have helped further increase the gap. Manchester City's 3-1 UEFA Champions League win at Dynamo Kyiv, coupled with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all making UEFA Europa League progress means the Premier League now leads Serie A 73.909 to 70.272 with more chances to add in the coming rounds.
At the top, Spain's seven entrants all picked up good results taking their coefficient to 97.713, closer than ever to the first-ever 100+ tally. Germany have the season's second highest total to consolidate that position in the five-year rankings.
Another key rankings race involves Russia's bid to replace either France or Portugal in the top six, so earning a second automatic UEFA Champions League group berth and third overall for 2017/18. The group stage went well for Russia but Zenit's loss at Benfica was followed by Lokomotiv Moskva and Krasnodar exiting the UEFA Europa League. Therefore unless Zenit can turn the tide against Benfica in their second leg, Russia's hopes of a top-six slot is over for now.
The other key cut-off points are 12th place, which has carried an automatic UEFA Champions League group slot, and 15th, above which countries have a minimum two entries into the competition. The Czech Republic are closing in on Switzerland for 12th, cutting the gap to 1.450 points, and both have one team each in the UEFA Europa League round of 16: Sparta Praha and Basel. However, Austria's chances of overtaking Romania for 15th place are over after Rapid Wien's elimination; no nation below the Czech Republic still have representatives in either competition.
In the club rankings, Real Madrid's victory at Roma has extended their lead over second-placed Bayern München to more than ten points, with Barcelona now just 0.850 off the top two. Midtyjlland may be out of the UEFA Europa League but their impressive campaign has lifted them from 200th at the end of last season to 124th.
FOR REFERENCE: the access list that will be used for allocation to the 2016/17 club competitions is based on the association club coefficient rankings at the end of 2014/15 (taking into account the season's 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15). The rankings including 2015/16 results will be used to decide allocations in 2017/18.
Seedings for UEFA national team competitions are decided by the UEFA National Team Coefficient Ranking: the latest version was released on 9 September and has been used to seed the UEFA European Championship final tournament draw.