2018–19 UEFA Champions League
Wanda-Metropolitano.jpg
The Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid hosted the final
Tournament details
DatesQualifying:
26 June – 29 August 2018
Competition proper:
18 September 2018 – 1 June 2019
TeamsMain Tournament: 32
Total: 79 (from 54 associations)
Final positions
ChampionsEngland Liverpool (6th title)
Runners-upEngland Tottenham Hotspur
Tournament statistics
Matches played125
Goals scored366 (2.93 per match)
Attendance6,163,044 (49,304 per match)
Top scorer(s)Argentina Lionel Messi (12 goals)

The 2018–19 UEFA Champions League was the 64th season of Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 27th season since it was renamed from the European Champion Clubs' Cup to the UEFA Champions League.

The final was played at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain, between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. It was the second all-English final after the 2008 final, which was contested between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow.[1] Liverpool defeated Tottenham 2–0 and have earned the right to play against Chelsea, the winners of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup; they also qualified for the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar. They automatically qualified for the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League group stage. As Liverpool had already qualified for the group stage by clinching the second place at domestic league, the berth reserved for the English runner-up was given to the champions of the 2018–19 Austrian Bundesliga – the 11th-ranked association according to next season's access list.[2]

For the first time, the video assistant referee (VAR) system was used in the competition from the round of 16 onward.[3]

Real Madrid were the defending champions, having won each of the last three titles. They were eliminated by Ajax in the round of 16.[4][5]

Format changes

On 9 December 2016, UEFA confirmed the reforming plan for the UEFA Champions League for the 2018–2021 cycle, which was announced on 26 August 2016.[6][7] As per the new regulations, the previous season's UEFA Europa League winners will qualify automatically for the UEFA Champions League group stage (previously they would qualify for the play-off round, but would be promoted to the group stage only if the Champions League title holder berth was vacated, although this promotion to the group stage had been made in all three seasons since it was established from 2015–16). Meanwhile, the top four teams from the leagues of the four top-ranked national associations in the UEFA country coefficients list will qualify automatically for the group stage as well.[6] Only six teams will qualify for the group stage via the qualification rounds, down from ten in the previous season.[8]

Association team allocation

79 teams from 54 of the 55 UEFA member associations participate in the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League (the exception being Liechtenstein, which does not organise a domestic league). The association ranking based on the UEFA country coefficients is used to determine the number of participating teams for each association:[8][9]

Round and draw dates

The schedule of the competition is as follows (all draws are held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, unless stated otherwise).[15]

Schedule for 2018–19 UEFA Champions League
Phase Round Draw date First leg Second leg
Qualifying Preliminary round 12 June 2018 26 June 2018 (semi-final round) 29 June 2018 (final round)
First qualifying round 19 June 2018 10–11 July 2018 17–18 July 2018
Second qualifying round 24–25 July 2018 31 July – 1 August 2018
Third qualifying round 23 July 2018 7–8 August 2018 14 August 2018
Play-off Play-off round 6 August 2018 21–22 August 2018 28–29 August 2018
Group stage Matchday 1 30 August 2018
(Monaco)
18–19 September 2018
Matchday 2 2–3 October 2018
Matchday 3 23–24 October 2018
Matchday 4 6–7 November 2018
Matchday 5 27–28 November 2018
Matchday 6 11–12 December 2018
Knockout phase Round of 16 17 December 2018 12–13 & 19–20 February 2019 5–6 & 12–13 March 2019
Quarter-finals 15 March 2019 9–10 April 2019 16–17 April 2019
Semi-finals 30 April – 1 May 2019 7–8 May 2019
Final 1 June 2019 at Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

From this season, there will be staggered kick-off times in the group stage at 18:55 CET and 21:00 CET. Kick-off times starting from the knock-out phase will be 21:00 CET.[11]

Preliminary round

In the preliminary round, teams were divided into seeded and unseeded teams based on their 2018 UEFA club coefficients,[16] and then drawn into one-legged semi-final and final ties. The draw for the preliminary round was held on 12 June 2018.[17] The semi-final round was played on 26 June, and the final round was played on 29 June 2018, both at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.[18] The losers of both semi-final and final rounds entered the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Semi-final round
FC Santa Coloma Andorra 0–2 (a.e.t.) Kosovo Drita
La Fiorita San Marino 0–2 Gibraltar Lincoln Red Imps
Team 1  Score  Team 2
Final round
Lincoln Red Imps Gibraltar 1–4 (a.e.t.) Kosovo Drita

Drita's win on 26 June 2018 was the first time that a team representing Kosovo had won a game in any UEFA competition.

Qualifying rounds

In the qualifying and play-off rounds, teams are divided into seeded and unseeded teams based on their 2018 UEFA club coefficients,[16] and then drawn into two-legged home-and-away ties.

First qualifying round

The draw for the first qualifying round was held on 19 June 2018.[19] The first legs were played on 10 and 11 July, and the second legs were played on 17 and 18 July 2018. The losers entered the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, except for the losers of the Cork City/Legia Warsaw tie who were randomly drawn to receive a bye to the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Torpedo Kutaisi Georgia (country) 2–4 Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol 2–1 0–3
Shkëndija North Macedonia 5–4 Wales The New Saints 5–0 0–4
Sūduva Marijampolė Lithuania 3–2 Cyprus APOEL 3–1 0–1
Olimpija Ljubljana Slovenia 0–1 Azerbaijan Qarabağ 0–1 0–0
F91 Dudelange Luxembourg 2–3 Hungary MOL Vidi 1–1 1–2
Drita Kosovo 0–5 Sweden Malmö FF 0–3 0–2
Víkingur Gøta Faroe Islands 2–5[A] Finland HJK 1–2 1–3
Ludogorets Razgrad Bulgaria 9–0 Northern Ireland Crusaders 7–0 2–0
Cork City Republic of Ireland 0–4 Poland Legia Warsaw 0–1 0–3
Valur Iceland 2–3 Norway Rosenborg 1–0 1–3
Kukësi Albania 1–1 (a) Malta Valletta 0–0 1–1
Flora Tallinn Estonia 2–7 Israel Hapoel Be'er Sheva 1–4 1–3
Spartaks Jūrmala Latvia 0–2 Serbia Red Star Belgrade 0–0 0–2
Alashkert Armenia 0–6 Scotland Celtic 0–3 0–3
Spartak Trnava Slovakia 2–1 Bosnia and Herzegovina Zrinjski Mostar 1–0 1–1
Astana Kazakhstan 3–0 Montenegro Sutjeska Nikšić 1–0 2–0

Notes

  1. ^ Order of legs reversed after original draw.

Second qualifying round

The second qualifying round is split into two separate sections: Champions Path (for league champions) and League Path (for league non-champions). The draw for the second qualifying round was held on 19 June 2018.[19] The first legs were played on 24 and 25 July, and the second legs were played on 31 July and 1 August 2018. The losers from both Champions Path and League Path entered the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Champions Path
Astana Kazakhstan 2–1 Denmark Midtjylland 2–1 0–0
Ludogorets Razgrad Bulgaria 0–1 Hungary MOL Vidi 0–0 0–1
Kukësi Albania 0–3 Azerbaijan Qarabağ 0–0 0–3
CFR Cluj Romania 1–2 Sweden Malmö FF 0–1 1–1
Dinamo Zagreb Croatia 7–2 Israel Hapoel Be'er Sheva 5–0 2–2
Red Star Belgrade Serbia 5–0 Lithuania Sūduva Marijampolė 3–0 2–0
BATE Borisov Belarus 2–1 Finland HJK 0–0 2–1
Shkëndija North Macedonia 1–0 Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol 1–0 0–0
Legia Warsaw Poland 1–2 Slovakia Spartak Trnava 0–2 1–0
Celtic Scotland 3–1 Norway Rosenborg 3–1 0–0
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
League Path
PAOK Greece 5–1 Switzerland Basel 2–1 3–0
Ajax Netherlands 5–1 Austria Sturm Graz 2–0 3–1

Third qualifying round

The third qualifying round is split into two separate sections: Champions Path (for league champions) and League Path (for league non-champions). The draw for the third qualifying round was held on 23 July 2018.[20] The first legs were played on 7 and 8 August, and the second legs were played on 14 August 2018. The losers from Champions Path enter the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League play-off round, while the losers from League Path enter the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Champions Path
Celtic Scotland 2–3 Greece AEK Athens 1–1 1–2
Red Bull Salzburg Austria 4–0 North Macedonia Shkëndija 3–0 1–0
Red Star Belgrade Serbia 3–2 Slovakia Spartak Trnava 1–1 2–1 (a.e.t.)
Qarabağ Azerbaijan 1–2 Belarus BATE Borisov 0–1 1–1
Astana Kazakhstan 0–3 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb 0–2 0–1
Malmö FF Sweden 1–1 (a) Hungary MOL Vidi 1–1 0–0
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
League Path
Standard Liège Belgium 2–5 Netherlands Ajax 2–2 0–3
Benfica Portugal 2–1 Turkey Fenerbahçe 1–0 1–1
Slavia Prague Czech Republic 1–3 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv 1–1 0–2
PAOK Greece 3–2 Russia Spartak Moscow 3–2 0–0

Play-off round

The play-off round was split into two separate sections: Champions Path (for league champions) and League Path (for league non-champions). The draw for the play-off round was held on 6 August 2018.[21] The first legs were played on 21 and 22 August, and the second legs were played on 28 and 29 August. The losers from both Champions Path and League Path entered the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Champions Path
Red Star Belgrade Serbia 2–2 (a) Austria Red Bull Salzburg 0–0 2–2
BATE Borisov Belarus 2–6 Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 2–3 0–3
Young Boys Switzerland 3–2 Croatia Dinamo Zagreb 1–1 2–1
MOL Vidi Hungary 2–3 Greece AEK Athens 1–2 1–1
Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
League Path
Benfica Portugal 5–2 Greece PAOK 1–1 4–1
Ajax Netherlands 3–1 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv 3–1 0–0

Group stage

Location of teams of the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Brown pog.svg Brown: Group A; Red pog.svg Red: Group B; Orange pog.svg Orange: Group C; Yellow pog.svg Yellow: Group D;
Green pog.svg Green: Group E; Blue pog.svg Blue: Group F; Purple pog.svg Purple: Group G; Pink pog.svg Pink: Group H.

The draw for the group stage was held on 30 August 2018 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.[22] The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four, with the restriction that teams from the same association could not be drawn against each other. For the draw, the teams were seeded into four pots based on the following principles (introduced starting this season):[9]

  • Pot 1 contained the Champions League and Europa League title holders, and the champions of the top six associations based on their 2017 UEFA country coefficients. If either or both title holders were one of the champions of the top six associations, the champions of the next highest ranked association(s) are also seeded into Pot 1.
  • Pot 2, 3 and 4 contained the remaining teams, seeded based on their 2018 UEFA club coefficients.[16]

In each group, teams play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format. The group winners and runners-up advance to the round of 16, while the third-placed teams enter the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League round of 32. The matchdays are 18–19 September, 2–3 October, 23–24 October, 6–7 November, 27–28 November, and 11–12 December 2018.

The youth teams of the clubs that qualify for the group stage also participate in the 2018–19 UEFA Youth League on the same matchdays, where they compete in the UEFA Champions League Path (the youth domestic champions of the top 32 associations compete in a separate Domestic Champions Path until the play-offs).

A total of 15 national associations are represented in the group stage. 1899 Hoffenheim, Red Star Belgrade (1991 European champions) and Young Boys will make their debut appearances in the group stage (although Red Star Belgrade have appeared in the European Cup group stage).