On 22nd May 2010, several Italians did something they didn’t think they could ever do: support Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League Final 2010. The reason wasn’t because they suddenly fell in love with the black-and-blue stripes, but because a situation arose: the Bundesliga had become dangerously close to pipping the Serie A for the third place in the UEFA Country Ranking.
In fact, had FC Bayern beaten Inter Milan that night, the Bundesliga would have overtaken the Serie A a whole year earlier than they eventually did. What that would have meant was that in the 2011/12 season, Napoli would have had to go through the Champions League qualifiers in place of Udinese who’d have qualified directly to the Europa League Play-off round, Roma would have been completely out of Europe, Hannover 96 would have reached the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in their history while Nürnberg would have made the Europa League.
Now, Germany is knocking on England’s door. Every single team from England has already been eliminated from both UEFA competitions, which means that whatever points the Bundesliga manages to collect in the 4 to 10 matches it has left will help close the gap with the Premier League.
How are the coefficients calculated? OK, this is a bit of a boring process, but in a nutshell each team gets 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw. For certain qualification to next rounds, bonus points are also awarded. The points are then divided by the number of teams that represented their country in that given season to get an average. For Germany and England, that’s 7. These average points are then added up to the average points of the previous four seasons. Currently, Germany has 78.558 while England has 80.391.
The good news, if you’re a Bundesliga fan, is that sooner or later Germany will DEFINITELY overtake the Premier League. That’s because if in a worst case scenario that FC Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg lose all four matches and Germany thus finishes the season with 78.558, when the new season starts in July, the 2010/11 coefficients are taken out of the calculation, and when that happens England will have 62.034 points while Germany will have at very least 62.892 points.
The bragging rights, however, belong more towards the rankings at the end of a season rather than at the start, and 0.858 points are something that England could easily recover in 2015/16. Unless, of course, Germany adds more coefficient points, or possibly overtakes England already this season.
What would it take for the Bundesliga to overtake the Premier League before the end of the season? Currently, England enjoys an advantage of 1.833 coefficient points. This is the average for the total number of clubs representing the country in said season. This means that FC Bayern and Wolfsburg would need to bring 1.833 × 7 = 12.831 points between them, but since they can’t possibly get a decimal number they would need to fetch 13 points in all.
The teams will get 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and a bonus point for going through to the next round. That means that if both teams make it to the final, they will get a bare minimum of 12 points and a maximum of 20 points. If they both win the final, the maximum goes up to 24 points. However, only 13 are needed for Germany to displace England in the UEFA Country Rankings, as we calculated earlier. Therefore, should FC Bayern and Wolfsburg both reach their respective finals, with one team going through to the semifinal or final with a win and a draw, that would mean that Germany would have already overtaken England even before the finals are played.
What they’ve long called “the best league in the world” will therefore have to settle for third place, by July at the latest and by 7th May at the earliest. Auf Wiedersehen, Premier League!
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