Friday, September 18, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Third-Round Preview

All four made it through to the Europa League third round (Motherwell barely), so let's preview where the third round and possible playoff round have us headed.

The Coefficient

Still the same 10-16 neighborhood within 4 points of Scotland. They gained a little bit on Ukraine in the race for 12th.

There's not a lot of movement this year, because of the reduced maximum points (0.75 instead of 1) for a club winning and a guaranteed parting gift of at least 0.25 for clubs that lose.

In order to keep rising, Scotland needs both halves of the Old Firm to progress to the group stage. In order to tread water, they need one half. If either of the other sides makes it through to the playoff round, I consider that a bonus.


Celtic (ELO 1629), as expected, return to action against Riga (ELO 1203). That should be an easy win, but away matches are tricky, especially in this weird year. If they make it through, they face the winners between Bosnian champions Sarajevo (ELO 1272) and Montenegrin champions Budućnost Podgorica (ELO 1098). It's a clear path if they can take advantage of it, but they will be away again.


Rangers (ELO 1607) blasted Lincoln Red Imps 5-0, to set up a showdown with Willem II (ELO 1468). They should win, but it probably won't be easy. If they take care of business in the Netherlands, they host the winner of Galatasaray (ELO 1522) and Hadjuk Split (ELO 1460). Definitely possible, but not as easy of a path as Celtic.


Motherwell (ELO 1303) needed penalties to see off Coleraine, which meant they missed out on 0.125 for the coefficient in the process. They now face Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ELO 1382). It's not a definite loss, but it is likely. If they sneak through, they host the winner of APOEL (ELO 1590) and Zrinjiski Mostar (ELO 1276). That doesn't make group stage likely, but again, this is a weird year.


Aberdeen (ELO 1422) took care of Viking FK, but face another road match at Sporting CP (ELO 1614). A win there means they face either LASK (ELO 1636) or  Dunajská (ELO 1363). The Aberdonians definitely face the hardest path of any Scottish side.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Second Round Review/Preview

Well, this is the last time this season we have to worry about the disconnect between the Champions League rounds and the Europa League rounds, as Celtic got bounced out of the Champions League. For reasons I don't understand, all four Scottish teams are away for the third round.

The Coefficient


 There's not change worth mentioning here.


Celtic (ELO 1623) lost their second-round Champions League game (still picking up .25 for the coefficient because COVID), so they are idle until the third round, where they face the winner of Riga (ELO 1213) and Tre Fiori (ELO 701). Let's say it's going to be Riga, and let's say Celtic better win.


Rangers (ELO 1605) take on Lincoln Red Imps (ELO 904). Another "better win" situation. If they do, it's on to face the winner of Progrès Niederkorn (ELO 1124) and Willem II (ELO 1469). Willem II could prove a tough opponent, but it's the type of match Rangers needs to (keep) winning if they want to return to, let's say, the top 100 European clubs.


Motherwell (ELO 1296) are having a terrible domestic season, and will hope to salvage good news against Coleraine (ELO 1090), their second consecutive Northern Irish opponent. They should win, but I'm not too confident. Success would see them up against the winner of Laçi (ELO 1214) and Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ELO 1387). I don't see them getting past Hapoel.


Would someone please get Derek McInnes to the group stage? Aberdeen (ELO 1418) take on Viking (ELO 1360), and then hopefully Sporting CP (ELO 1618). Oof.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Geocaching in the Time of Coronavirus

Well, my record pace of geocaching screeched to a halt with the spread of the pandemic, so I am back to longer intervals between updates. It was not so much that the restrictions inhibited my geocaching (though the lack of travel has hurt), but more time was required for other things, like stocking up on groceries and taking care of kids who were suddenly home from school. Before the pandemic hit, I found two geocaches in March. One during a quick trip to Leesburg, another while camping. 

I returned to the geocaching scene by finding one on Father's Day.  That earned me the "Blue Switch Day 2020" (Souvenir 69). Never mind what Blue Switch Day is -- the important thing is that you can get the souvenir all year long, because coronavirus.

Then I found three in July, including my first ones hidden in March 2020 (Month 208) and April 2020 (Month 209). I also picked up a souvenir in the Memory Lane promotion (Souvenir 70), which is lasting all year long, because coronavirus.

In August I found 10 geocaches, including my first from July 2020 (Month 210) and June 2010 (Month 211). I picked up another Memory Lane souvenir (Souvenir 71). Things have really picked up now that I am biking regularly.

 My months left to find has gone up to 33 from 31, which is not bad, considering. There was one from August 2020 that I biked to on the 30th, but forgot a pen, so I didn't search for it. I suspect in September I can get at least two months and start shrinking that number again.

My future updates will, for now, align with the meteorological seasons, because it is much easier to follow calendar months.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Late August Update

After finishing the last update, I discovered that this season's schedule does not have the two Leagues' schedules even close to aligning. So if I waited until the end of the first qualifying round in the Europa League, I would miss previewing the second qualifying round in the Champions League. So here's a brief update.

The Coefficient

Since I'm considering nations within 4 points of Scotland, the window has shifted up after Celtic's win. Austria, Switzerland and Greece have not had any clubs play yet, so the first is added to the top of the chart while the latter two drop out.


After their thumping of Reykjavik, Celtic (ELO 1636) will be less heavily favored against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros (ELO 1501).


They are idle until the second round.


Motherwell (ELO 1309) will host Northern Ireland's Glentoran (ELO 1113).


Aberdeen (ELO 1400) will host NSI Runavik (ELO 902).

Monday, August 10, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 First-Round Preview

As a reminder from this weekend, here is where we stand entering the 2020/21 European football season (with the caveat that we haven't fully exited the 2019/20 season.)

I think the primary rooting interest we have is for Scotland to stay above 16th, and thus keep both Champions League places. Secondarily, it would be good to build up a solid lead, as I suspect the past two seasons' success will be hard to sustain once the points are spread among five clubs next year.

COVID notes

Instead of the first three rounds being two-legged ties, they are one-legged. UEFA has decided to handle this in coefficent calculation by giving 3 points to the winner, and 1 point to the loser (2 points if it goes to penalty kicks). This is as if everyone who advances does so with a win and a draw. Points are, as usual, halved in these rounds, and then divided by the number of clubs from that nation.

It is hard to know what effect this

First-Round Preview

Celtic's Champions League road begins with a home match against KR Reykjavik, the champions of Iceland. Expect Celtic, which Clubelo has with an ELO of 1634, to be favored against the Reykjavik, which has an ELO of 1152.

 If they win, they host the winner of Ferencvaros (ELO 1507) and Djurgarden (ELO 1475), unless travel restrictions prevent hosting Djurgarden, in which case the match would be at a neutral site.

Rangers is idle until the second round.

Motherwell (ELO 1307) host the winner of Glentoran (ELO unknown) and HB Torshvan (ELO 910).

Aberdeen (ELO 1400) host the winner of NSI Runavik (ELO 902) or Barry Town United (ELO 980).

I think anything less than a sweep would be disappointing. That would equal 3*3*0.5/4=0.825 for the coefficient. Note that the theoretical worst is 3*1*0.5/4=0.375. So Scotland will continue to be in 13th place going into the second round. Note that there is no practical effect between 13th and 14th place.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Knockout Round Review

Well, Rangers lost to Bayer Leverkeusen on Thursday, ending Scotland's presence in Europe. Perhaps more importantly, Olympiakos went out, so Greece can't catch Scotland. Scotland is ensured of finishing no lower than 15th. (They will get 14th unless Basil wins the Europa league, which Fivethirtyeight gives a 4% chance of happening.)

I think Scotland has earned the right for us to look at 1-18, rather than just a thin band around them. Note that only five nations have earned more points so far this year than Scotland.

So that guarantees Champions League berths for the two teams that finish atop the Premiership this season, presumably Celtic and Rangers. The Scottish Cup winner (or third-place team if one of the top wins the Cup) goes to the Europa League, and the third- and fourth-placed teams (or fourth- and fifth- if as above) go to the new Europa Conference League.

Well, now that Scotland is not longer participating in European football, we have our traditional long break until the 2020/21 Champions League first-round draw, which is...tomorrow? Oh, dear. Well, then I will leave you with a look at where the nations stand entering this season.

Denmark starts below Scotland, but could move above it based on Copenhagen's performance in this season', last season', the 2020/21 Europa League. Switzerland can't catch up. I am keeping the band around Scotland a little wider this season, as the important thing is to avoid the drop below 15th.