As the season comes to a close, we are already aware of a number of the league’s champions, including both returning and new faces.

While Inter replaced Napoli in Italy, Bayer Leverkusen capped an outstanding 2023-24 season with their first league championship ever in Germany.

Elsewhere, PSG have won the French Ligue 1 for the twelfth time, with the Qatari owners bringing their total to ten. Meanwhile, in Spain, Real Madrid have shone brighter than Barcelona, capturing an unprecedented 36th La Liga title.

Among the top five leagues, the Premier League championship fight between Manchester City and Arsenal is razor-thin.

The championship is still up for grabs, with Pep Guardiola’s City having a game in hand over Arsenal.  With two games remaining compared to City’s three, the Gunners find themselves one point ahead of the Treble winners.

The Bundesliga and Serie A are rejoicing over two more slots in the UEFA Champions League. This is all down to the coefficient system, which is still in use for the distribution of spots in the European club cups.

Towards the season’s conclusion, a few of the clubs now playing in the UEL and UECL will likely have upgraded to the UCL.

Another task before the season ends, however, is to determine which clubs will participate in the next campaign’s European competitions.

Girona will be making their Champions League debut next season
Girona will be making their Champions League debut next season

Girona will be making their Champions League debut next season

Who has already secured Champions League spot?

The 2023-24 season has been filled with fantastic underdog tales, some of which have received more attention than others. To start, much to Bayern Munich and Harry Kane’s annoyance, Bayer Leverkusen have already won the Bundesliga.

Plus, they have advanced to the Europa League semi-finals and the DFB-Pokal final, respectively. Leverkusen may finish the season undefeated and with three titles. But, because of their success in the German league, they will be playing in the next Champions League.

In fact, Leverkusen and Stuttgart are two of the Bundesliga teams who have been doing really well this year. More astonishing is that they’re making their Champions League return after a long absence (since the 2009–10 season).

Particularly when you think about how VfB have been doing over the last five or seven seasons.

From 2016 forward, the Swabians have been involved in two relegation playoffs in a row. Sebastian Hoeneß’s installation, however, has leveled the playing field. Is a result of the outstanding work that the former Bayern II coach has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Also, after their 4-2 victory against Barcelona, Girona will advance to their first Champions League campaign in club history. The win guaranteed that Michel’s side would finish in the top four, passing their Catalan rivals to take second place.

They have come a long way from finishing tenth last season, and they now lead Athletic Club by 13 points with four games to go. But they seemed capable of contending with Los Blancos for the league crown for a considerable portion of the season.

The club, which has never competed in Europe and is partially controlled by Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi sponsors, would nevertheless see a Champions League berth as a significant victory.

Who will likely join them in Champions League?

Thanks to their impressive play, Bologna are on the cusp of a Champions League action next season. They made it to the quarterfinals of the 1964 European Cup, but they’ve never been in the Champions League as it is now.

But it seems like it’s about to change. They have a seven-point lead over sixth-place Atalanta and a top-five finish would get them into next season’s redesigned competition.

The Rossoblu manager Thiago Motta has experience in the Champions League from his days as a player for Barcelona and Inter. While coaching, the Italian maintains the same level of energy, and Bologna have exceeded all expectations in his second season.

In France, last weekend’s dramatic 5-4 win against Rennes ensured Brest’s first-ever spot in next season’s European competition. Not only that, but the Breton club are almost ready to make the Champions League cut.

As for the Premier League, Aston Villa and Tottenham are neck and neck for the last Champions League spot.

When Villa hired Unai Emery, things started to improve for the club. Since the Spaniard took over, the squad has transformed and is presently in fourth place, ahead of Spurs.

They would lock up the fourth spot before the last day of the season if they could salvage a single point in their next matches against Liverpool and Brighton.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Noah Wedel