With competitions all around Europe entering their final stages, we're starting to get a clearer picture of what the 2014-15 edition of the UEFA Champions League will look like.
Numerous teams have already qualified, while others will have to play deep into summer to obtain one of the final tickets for the group stages.
Three qualifying rounds and a playoff round will give teams from the very smallest of football nations around the continent a chance to join the perennial powerhouses of European football in the Champions League group stage, with 32 teams battling it out for Old Big Ears.
|2014-15 Champions League Draw Dates|
|First & Second Qualifying Round||June 23, 2014|
|Third Qualifying Round||July 18, 2014|
|Play-Off Round||August 8, 2014|
|Group Stage (Matchdays 1-6)||August 28, 2014|
|Round of 16||December 15, 2014|
|Quarter-Finals||March 20, 2015|
|Semi-Finals and Final||April 24, 2015|
Fixture dates and info
The first matchday of the group stages will take place on Sept. 16 and 17, per UEFA's official website. All teams will play six matches, with the top 16 advancing to the knockout stages.
The knockout stages will start in the second half of February with the Round of 16, running on until the final at Berlin's Olympiastadion, to be played on May 6.
The full match calendar:
|Full 2014-15 Champions League match calendar|
|First qualifying round, first leg||01-02/07/14|
|First qualifying round, second leg||08-09/07/14|
|Second qualifying round, first leg||15-16/07/14|
|Second qualifying round, second leg||22-23/07/14|
|Third qualifying round, first leg||29-30/07/14|
|Third qualifying round, second leg||05-06/08/14|
|Play-off round, first leg||19-20/08/14|
|Play-off round, second leg||26-27/08/14|
|Group stage, matchday one||16-17/09/14|
|Group stage, matchday two||30/09-01/10/14|
|Group stage, matchday three||21-22/10/14|
|Group stage, matchday four||04-05/11/14|
|Group stage, matchday five||25-26/11/14|
|Group stage, matchday six||09-10/12/14|
|Round of 16, first leg||17-18/02/15 or 24-25/02/15|
|Round of 16, second leg||10-11/03/15 or 17-18/03/15|
|Quarter-finals, first leg||14-15/04/15|
|Quarter-finals, second leg||21-22/04/15|
|Semi-finals, first leg||05-06/05/15|
|Semi-finals, second leg||12-13/05/15|
|Final (Olympiastadion, Berlin)||06/06/15|
Spain, England and Germany will get the chance to send four teams into the tournament, with the top three finishers in these leagues qualifying directly for the group stages and the fourth-ranked team qualifying for the final playoff round.
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid have already taken the first three spots in La Liga, while Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City have done the same in the Premier League.
They will be joined by Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund from the Bundesliga, as well as Schalke 04 who confirmed their third place finish with a 4-1 final day win over Nuremberg while Bayer Leverkusen finished in fourth.
Arsenal have managed to keep Everton at arm's length following the Toffees' recent drop in results and have sealed fourth place in the English top flight, while Athletic Bilbao have done the same in La Liga, beating Sevilla to fourth place.
Italy and Portugal can send three teams into the tournament, with the top two finishers qualifying for the group stages and the third-ranked team going into the playoffs.
Juventus and Roma have already ensured that they will finish first and second in Serie A, respectively, and Napoli have booked their place in the playoffs, leading Fiorentina by 11 points with one match left to play.
Benfica and Sporting finished at the top of the standings in the Portuguese Liga, and FC Porto booked their ticket into the playoffs.
France is the final country to send three teams into the tournament, with the top two receiving an automatic bid for the group stages and the third-ranked team going into the third qualifying round.
Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are confirmed as the top two with one more game to play while Lille lead fourth-placed ASSE by two points thus are favourites for the qualifying spot.
The other teams to go straight into the group stages are the champions of the following leagues:
|National champions qualifying directly for group stages|
*Fenerbahce are banned from European competition for the 2014-15 season following the 2011 match-fixing case, as reported by ESPNFC's Andy Brassell.
Switzerland, Cyprus and Denmark complete the list of countries sending two teams into the qualifying stages, with all eligible teams entering the tournament in the third round.
Notable teams having already qualified for the second qualifying round include Celtic Glasgow, Red Bull Salzburg and BATE Borisov.
All info is courtesy of UEFA.com and correct as of April 30, 2014.
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