Tottenham Hotspur have secured their place in next season’s Champions League group stage draw, though they could face being in the third pot of seeds once again.
Spurs were handed an incredibly tough draw from pot 3 this season, but emerged as group winners ahead of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.
After reaching the knockout rounds they would have been hoping that an improved European coefficient would move them up to pot 2, therefore increasing the likelihood of a more favourable draw. But it seems they might have to rely on Real Madrid beating Liverpool in the final on May 26 for that to happen.
Provisional draw pots (*denotes pot placing to be confirmed)
Pot 1: Real Madrid or Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus*, Paris Saint-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Porto
Pot 2: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund*, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica*, Napoli, FC Basel, Real Madrid or Tottenham Hotspur
Pot 3: Tottenham Hotspur or Liverpool*, Bayer Leverkusen*, Roma*, Dynamo Kiev*, Schalke, Lyon*, Besiktas*
If Dortmund and Benfica, as expected, confirm their places in next season’s Champions League this weekend, then Tottenham will only be ranked 17th of the qualifying teams — making them the top-ranked team in pot 3.
However, if Real Madrid win the Champions League they will take the place in pot 1 that is reserved for the holders, which will in turn free up a spot in pot 2 to be taken by Spurs.
But if Liverpool win the Champions League it will be Jurgen Klopp’s men who move up to pot 1, and Tottenham will remain in pot 3. Liverpool will definitely be in pot 3 if they qualify and do not win the Champions League this season.
Spurs’ hopes would not be completely over should Liverpool lift the trophy, as Benfica or FC Basel could fail to make it through the qualifying rounds and make the group-stage draw. They would also move up if Benfica fail to finish second in Portugal.
Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.