Soccer-Premier League left sweating on extra Champions League place after bad night for England


Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - April 17, 2024 Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich scores their first goal past Arsenal's David Raya REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur supporters would have had little sympathy for archrivals Arsenal after their Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Bayern Munich but they may not be laughing so hard come the end of the season.

Arsenal's 3-2 aggregate defeat, combined with holders Manchester City's penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid, did more than just rule out the possibility of an English club appearing in the Wembley showpiece on June 1.

Those defeats also gave Germany's Bundesliga the edge over England's Premier League in the race to secure an extra spot in next year's expanded Champions League.

Until Wednesday's wipe-out, England were fractionally behind Germany in UEFA's co-efficient table -- the system used to decide how many places a country is entitled to in Europe's club competitions.

The top two nations in that table will be awarded five places, rather than four, in next season's Champions League and with Italy secure in first place the battle between Germany and England was, until Wednesday, too close to call.

However, Germany now look favourites with Bayern Munich having joined Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals. Dortmund edged out Atletico Madrid in a thriller on Tuesday.

Italy are on 18.428 with Germany on 17.642 while England are on 16.875 and that is before Bayer Leverkusen's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Premier League West Ham United taking place later on Thursday.

Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Leverkusen lead 2-0 from the first leg and unless West Ham can pull off a shock comeback at the London Stadium, Germany's advantage over England will be strengthened further, especially with Liverpool facing a 3-0 deficit in their Europa League quarter-final with Atalanta.

All that has huge implications in the Premier League and the battle for fourth place between Tottenham and Aston Villa.

Villa's superb win at Arsenal last weekend, combined with Tottenham's thrashing at Newcastle United, left Villa three points clear of the north London club, who until recently might have thought fifth place would be enough to qualify for next season's Champions League.

That now looks increasingly unlikely, and with a horror run-in that includes games against Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, Tottenham's hopes of playing among Europe's elite next season are diminishing.

Tottenham could end up hoping that Aston Villa win the Europa Conference League as they might be the only English club left in Europe come Friday. They lead Lille 2-1 after the first leg of their quarter-final.

There is a similar battle for fourth spot taking place in the Bundesliga between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, although it now looks as though both could be playing in the Champions League.

UEFA's coefficient is based on the results from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League with every win by a club from a nation worth two points and a draw one.

Bonus points are accrued by progressing through various stages of each competition with the total then divided by the number of teams from that nation in Europe.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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