Napoli, Roma and Milan have already qualified for the Europa League, but there is a very big difference between fifth and sixth place.
Gennaro Gattuso’s men won the Coppa Italia, beating Juventus on penalties in the Final last month, and have therefore got their spot in the group phase of the Europa League locked down.
Roma and Milan are now in a battle for fifth place, which provides some large benefits compared to sixth.
The Rossoneri have a superior head-to-head record, so if they were to finish level on points, Milan would go in front.
Specifically, fifth will go straight into the group phase, whereas sixth has to go via several preliminary rounds, starting from September 17.
The second preliminary phase is on September 24 and then the final play-off on October 1.
The group phase is set to begin on October 22, running to December 10.
There is also the alternative that if Napoli were to finish in the top six, then seventh place would be treated as sixth with a spot in the preliminary rounds.
Napoli and Roma are still in Europe, so there’s the potential dream/nightmare scenario of one of both going on to win those trophies.
If Napoli win the Champions League, then they will go directly into that tournament next season, freeing up a Europa League spot for Serie A.
In that case, fifth and sixth would go straight into the group phase, seventh into the preliminary round.
If Roma win the Europa League, they also get a place in the Champions League, with similar results.
However, if both Napoli and Roma win their respective trophies, that would see both of them automatically enter the Champions League.
This’d be a huge problem, as UEFA rules dictate only five clubs from any country can compete at the same time.
Therefore, the top three, Roma and Napoli would be in the Champions League, with fourth place in Serie A only heading for the Europa League instead.
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