Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2018/19 First-Round Preview

The draws have been made for the first two qualifying rounds of the Champions League and the Europa League, so it's time to examine Scotland's path.

Where We Stand



Here are the rankings before this year's performance is added in. As a reminder, these rankings will affect qualification for the 2020/21 cycle. Scotland is 23rd for this cycle, and locked into 26th for the 2019/20 cycle. As another reminder, the countries ranked 18-24 are equivalent, so the thresholds we care about are the 17/18 drop and (more realistically) the 24/25 drop. (This year because of various things, 20-25 were equivalent, so the drops were 19/20 and 25/26.)

I consider the 2 point zone around Scotland to be their "neighborhood" and cut the charts from Bert Kassies' site to show that competition. Cyprus zoomed from 26th to 19th last year, so that kind of jump is not unprecedented.

First-Round Matches


As the second-place Scottish Premiership finisher, Aberdeen is spared first-round Europa League entry this year. On the other hand, the shuffle that put more teams from the big leagues into the group stages of the Champions League means Celtic faces first-round matches this year. So three teams with a potential for 1.5 points. Romania and Belarus field only one and two teams respectively this round, because of their previous higher rankings. Azerbaijan, Serbia, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria all field four, however.

Fourth-place finisher Hibs faces Runavik from the Faroe Islands. As I did last year, I will be using Clubelo.com to preview the matches. Runavik has an Elo of 897, while Hibs show up at 1296. A 399-point difference is massive, and should make Hibs the overwhelming favorites.

Third-place Rangers faces Shkupi of Macedonia. I don't have an Elo for Shkupi, but Rangers' is 1341, which is close to the top teams in the Macedonian league. Rangers should be favored, but it won't be a runaway.

In the Champions League, Celtic (Elo 1510) is up against Alashkert (Elo 995) of Armenia. This is a massive mismatch.

I'll expect 1.25 points, and all three teams to advance.

Second-Round Sneak Peak


As usual, the second-round draw happens at the same time, so let's see what lays in wait.

Should Hibs advance, they face Asteras Tripolis (Elo 1424), so they will have a tough path.

If Rangers goes on, they face the winner of Petrocub and Osijek (Elo 1438) -- so they will probably be underdogs to Osijek.

Aberdeen (Elo 1373) faces Burnley (Elo 1684), an unfair task for Derek McInnes' side.

Celtic would be up against the winner of Rosenborg (Elo 1494) and Valur (Elo 1161). By the Elo and their narrow win last year, Celtic should be only slight favorites.

It will be a tough second round, but they will have to make it there first.

I'll expect 1.25 points, and only Celtic to advance. It's really a rough draw.
Post a Comment