May 19, 2012; Munich, GERMANY; A general view of the championship trophy before the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea at Allianz Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Gunn-US PRESSWIRE
Chelsea's Champions League triumph* has ensured that the Blues remain a Pot 1 team for next year's competition, although they remain in third place behind both Barcelona and Manchester United in UEFA's coefficient system. Obviously, that's not much of a surprise - thanks to their success in the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea will probably be a Pot 1 team for as long as they're qualifying for Europe - but it's helpful in that we can avoid running into any of the other huge teams in the group stages.
*Fun fact: I initially typed 'run to the Champions League final' before realising that we had indeed won the thing.
We're also guaranteed at least one opponent from the following eleven as the number two seed in our eventual group (^ denotes not yet qualified for group stages): Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg, Schalke 04, Braga^, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiacos^ and Ajax^. Premier League champions Manchester City are the lone English team in Pot 2 - Chelsea cannot meet them until the quarterfinals.
I guess this is the point at which I want to talk about how weird the UEFA coefficients are. Look at the numbers. Atletico Madrid, home of Thibaut Courtois, got more points this year than Chelsea on their way to a Europa League win (34.171 to 32.025, whatever that means). Liverpool, two years removed from their last Champions League appearance, are in 11th, while Inter Milan are in 7th place.
Does this strike anyone else as bizarre? Why can't UEFA take domestic form into account and seed, say, Manchester City over Liverpool. Or Borussia Dortmund over anyone? We already have a system by which we can take the strength of a league into account, and one by which we can assess the merits of the teams the domestic leagues (we call this a table). It would not be difficult to apply that to UEFA's coefficient system, which right now is failing in its goal to properly seed the twin European competitions.
The fact that we could have a group in which the champions of the Premier League, La Liga, the Serie A and the Bundesliga are drawn is a pretty good indication that things are broken. Time to figure out a new system, guys.