Real Madrid top of the pots for Champions League







Champions League holders Real Madrid top the list of 22 teams that have received byes to the 2014-15 group stage, while 55 others will compete in the three qualifying rounds or play-offs this summer in an effort to join them.

On Wednesday UEFA confirmed the 77 teams that will endeavour to reach the final at the Olympiastadion, Berlin on Saturday 6th June 2015. Atlético de Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao complete the Spanish contingent.

The champions route, involving the 40 league winners not given byes to the group stage, starts with six sides entering the first qualifying round, including Gibraltar’s inaugural entrants Lincoln FC.

The draw for this stage and the second qualifying round, involving 31 confirmed teams, will take place on Monday 23rd June at 12:00 (10:00 GMT).

FC Salzburg, APOEL FC and Aalborg BK will begin their journey in the third qualifying round, which will see 20 teams battle for five group-stage berths.

UEFA also confirmed that each country’s representation in the Champions League is dictated by its UEFA coefficient ranking, which is calculated over a five-year basis.

The coefficient ranking of the participating clubs is as follows:

– Group stage:

.1. Real Madrid (ESP) – 161.542
.2. Barcelona (ESP) 157.542
.3. Bayern Munich (GER) 154.328
.4. Chelsea (ENG) 140.949
.5. Benfica (POR) 129.459
.6. Atlético de Madrid (ESP) 119.542
.7. Schalke 04 (GER) 95.328
.8. Borussia Dortmund (GER) 82.328
.9. Juventus (ITA) 80.387
10. Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 80.300
11. Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 78.193
12. Basilea (SUI) 75.645
13. Manchester City (ENG) 72.949
14. Olympiacos (GRE) 67.720
15. CSKA Moscow (RUS) 66.899
16. Ajax (HOL) 61.862
17. Liverpool (ENG) 58.949
18. Sporting Lisboa (POR) 58.459
19. Galatasaray (TUR) 55.340
20. Anderlecht (BEL) 50.260
21. Roma (ITA) 39.887
22. Monaco (FRA)

Real Madrid’s Champions League win watched by 4.9 million on ITV

Real Madrid‘s victory over city rivals Atlético in the Champions Leaguefinal was watched by an average audience of 4.9 million on ITV, down on the audiences of previous finals that benefited from involving an English side.

The match was shown on ITV1 between 7pm and 11pm, over-running its scheduled finish time of 10.15pm as the game was won by Real after extra time.

The live match coverage averaged 4.9 million viewers on ITV, which equated to a 24.6% audience share. The match was also shown live on Sky Sports 1 from 6pm to 10.30pm, pulling in 1.18 million viewers.

ITV could not match of the heights of the 2012 final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, which averaged 8.2 million viewers, or the 2011 final in which an average audience of 7.9 million watched Barcelona beat Manchester United.

Real Madrid coach Ancelotti: DECIMA pressure was inspirational

Ancelotti Real Madrid

Ancelotti helped Real end their ‘La Decima’ obsession at first attempt.

“I believed Real Madrid had the quality to win it and I’ve always had maximum confidence. In each Champions League match I saw a different atmosphere in the dressing room because it was so motivating for everyone. Everybody was talking about the Décima and that gave us confidence and strength to play the matches with personality and courage. The pressure to win the Décima was positive pressure.

“I never thought that the final was lost. I’m an optimist. Time was going too quickly, but the team was doing very well. We did it with two minutes to spare but we had chances to equalise beforehand.

“I didn’t celebrate Ramos’ goal much because I started to think about extra time and how to arrange the team. When Marcelo scored I thought the match was over, that we were champions of Europe. La Décima is home.”

He added: “I’d never seen what I saw after winning the Décima. It was crazy. Real Madrid is not just a football team, it’s becoming a global religion. I’ve seen a lot of videos from the fans and it’s really incredible.”