PSV Eindhoven will be one of the top seeds in next season's Champions League group stage draw, with the eight teams in pot 1 now confirmed.
Real Madrid were the only team who could've prevented PSV from being seeded, but after Barcelona claimed the Liga title on Sunday night the last obstacle was removed. And that means the dethroned holders will have to settle for a place in pot 2 next season.
A change to the rules from next season means the champions of the top seven leagues, as ranked by UEFA coefficient, will be seeded along with the holders of the competition. It means Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Benfica, Paris-Saint Germain and Zenit Saint Petersburg are automatically seeded. Benfica, PSG and Zenit also wrapped up their league titles over the weekend.
As Barca and Juventus face each other in next month's Champions League final, the holders are already sure of being seeded, and that place transfers to the league ranked eighth by UEFA -- which is the Eredivisie.
PSV are ranked 30th in the UEFA club coefficients and in past seasons would only have been in pot 3. Paris Saint-Germain (ranked 11th), Juventus (14th) and Zenit Saint Petersburg (15th), who previously would be in pot 2, are the other beneficiaries of the new rule. Real Madrid (1st), Atletico Madrid (5th), Porto (8th) and Arsenal (9th) are the four teams who have effectively lost their seeding.
Pot 1 (confirmed): Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Benfica, Zenit, PSV Eindhoven.
Pot 2 (Valencia TBC): Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United*, Porto, Arsenal, Valencia*, Bayer Leverkusen*, Man City
(*must play qualifying round)
It will be a short-lived bonus for the Eredivisie, however. The access list for the competition is based on the coefficient rankings from the end of the 2013-14 season, when the Netherlands was eighth. However, Ukraine has now moved above them so, should the same situation occur next season, then its Premier League champions would be seeded instead.
Pots 2 through to 4 are constructed solely on UEFA coefficient, not league position.
Man City's place in pot 2 was under threat from Napoli, who are three coefficient points behind Manuel Pellegrini's team in the UEFA rankings. Had Napoli won the Europa League they would almost certainly have gained enough coefficient points to move above City and take the final place in pot 2. But now, even if Napoli qualify for the Champions League via Serie A, they can no longer score any coefficient points to overtake City.
With such a strong collection of teams in the pot 2 next season there is likely to be some very tough groups, though Man City will now be hopeful of avoiding yet another nightmare draw -- Dortmund, Ajax and Real Madrid in 2012-13; Bayern, Roma and CSKA this season -- by avoiding being placed in pot 3.
Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Basel and Sevilla, if they win the Europa League, are currently in line to move up to pot 2 should any of the three teams in the qualifying round be knocked out.
The winners of the Europa League, who would normally only earn a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League, will also go straight to the group stage next season. This is because the Champions League winners will have also qualified via their domestic league, and thus the place in the group stage reserved for the holders is not required.
As it stands the seeded teams in the final playoff round for the non-champions route will be Man United, Valencia, Leverkusen, Shakhtar and Ajax. And there could be some tough ties with Sporting Lisbon, CSKA Moscow and either Monaco or Marseille among the possible unseeded teams.