New Champions League Format Starts For the 2024-25 Season

Carter Lawson · Profile
New Champions League Format Starts For the 2024-25 Season

Starting in the 2024-25 Champions League season, there will be significant format changes. How will this new format look?

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking them, Groundhopper Guides will receive a commission.

Also read below for how to watch the Champions League in the US, and how to buy Champions League tickets from Groundhopper Soccer Guides.

First, a very quick introduction into the current UEFA Champions League format.

Current Champions League Format

Since 1991 the UEFA Champions League has consisted of a round-robin group stage followed by knockout rounds, starting with the round of 16 and ending with the Champions League Final.

The tournament, or “league,” starts with 32 teams split into 8 groups of 4. These four teams will play each opponent twice, once at home and once away. Following the 6 group stage games, each team plays, the top 2 in each group qualify for the knockout rounds. In the round of 16, the first place in each group plays a second-place team from a different group, while the third-place team is demoted to the UEFA Europa League.

For the round of 16, each team will have a home game, and following the 2 games, the team with the greater total goals advances. If it is a tie, the game goes into extra time, and eventually penalty kicks if needed. For this round teams from the same country are not able to play against each other.

This same format is used for the quarterfinals and semifinals, excluding the rule about teams from the same country playing each other. The final is played in a single game, usually in late May or early June in a predetermined location.

PSG will be back in the Champions League again for 2023-24

The New Champions League Format

Starting with the 2024-25 Champions League, there will no longer be 8 groups of 4 for the group stage. The number of teams will be increased from 32 to 36, and all teams will play in one giant group. Instead of playing 6 group stage games, teams will now play 8 guaranteed games against opponents of a variety of levels, determined by a complex computer algorithm.

Following the conclusion of this revamped “group stage,” the top 8 teams will automatically qualify for the round of 16, while teams from 9 to 24 will enter into a playoff round to determine which teams will earn the remaining 8 spots in the round of 16. Teams in positions 25 to 36 are automatically eliminated from European competitions as they have removed the rule allowing teams to go from the Champions League to the Europa League.

The new round of 16 format does not have country protection like the current format, meaning teams from the same countries can end up playing each other in the first knockout round. Following the end of the group stage, there will also only be one knockout round draw. This essentially means the better you do in the group stage, the easier path to the final you will have during the knockout rounds due to seeding based on your final group stage placement.

All procedures for the quarterfinals, semifinals and final will all remain the same.

Champions League Dates for 2024-25

Preliminary and Qualifying Rounds

The 2024-25 UEFA Champions League will begin in July 2024 with three qualifying rounds, each consisting of two legs:

  • July 9/10 and 16/17
  • July 23/24 and 30/31
  • August 6/7 and 13

These rounds don’t include any teams from the top European leagues. Those clubs join for the Champions League Group Stage.

fans singing and waving scarves before a game at Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen are back in the Champions League for the 2024-25 season.

2024-25 Champions League Group Stage Dates

The 2024-25 Group Stages dates — all Tuesday and Wednesday evenings — are:

  • September 17-19
  • October 1-2
  • October 22-23
  • November 5-6
  • November 26-27
  • December 10-11
  • December 21-22
  • January 29

2024-25 Champions League Knockout round play-offs

The Champions League Knockout Stage begins with the Knockout round play-offs on February 11, 2025. Play-off games — one at each club’s stadium — will be played on the following Tuesday and Wednesday nights:

  • February 11-12, 2025
  • February 18-19, 2025

2024-25 Champions League Round of 16

Round of 16 games — one at each club’s stadium — will be played on the following Tuesday and Wednesday nights:

  • March 4-5, 2025
  • March 11-12, 2025

2024-25 Champions League Quarterfinals

The two-legged quarterfinal ties will be played:

  • April 8-9, 2025
  • April 15-16, 2025

2024-25 Champions League Semifinals

The two-legged semifinal ties will be played:

  • April 29-30, 2025
  • May 6-7, 2025

2024-25 Champions League Final

The 2024-25 Champions League Final will be played May 31, 2024, at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.

Watch the 2024-25 Champions League

In the United States, you can watch the Champions LeagueEuropa League and Europa Conference League in English on Paramount+ by CBS Sports. The Spanish-language rights are held by TUDN, which is part of the Fubo TV service.

Watch soccer, including the Champions League, on Paramount+

Buy Champions League Tickets

Groundhopper Guides is an authorized reseller of UEFA Champions League tickets. You can see more about our Champions League tickets here.

Fill out this form to find out more about buying Champions League tickets:

Written By Carter Lawson
Carter Lawson, Content and Social Media Director · Profile

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