By J Hutcherson (Jul 23, 2019) US Soccer Players – There’s an old truism about the Champions League. For most teams, it only really counts if you make the group stage. For the elite, it’s making the knockout round. Whenever a team tries to stretch that to the Europa League, it falls flat. UEFA downgraded their secondary competition too many times. The only thing that counts at that level is winning if you don’t already have a Champions League spot secured for next season.
UEFA couldn’t stay out of its own way at Champions League level either. That continual threat of a super league breakaway led to the current situation. There are too many guaranteed places for Europe’s major leagues in the group stage. That means too many qualifiers of questionable value in a system where that was already a problem.