Champions League vs. Europa League: Which One is Better?

1 year ago

The Champions League and Europa League are two of the greatest football competitions in the world, bringing in millions of dollars for the participating clubs. However, there are some distinctions between them. So, which one is better?

The differences between UEFA Champions League vs Europa League

Soccer is the most widely played sport on the planet, with competitions taking place in every nation. It is particularly well-liked in Europe, where numerous soccer tournaments are staged in various nations. The Champions League and Europa League are two of the most renowned and well-liked soccer competitions, and both are avidly followed by millions of people to watch live football on tv.

The Europa League gives clubs a chance to test themselves against some of the finest teams in Europe, while Champions League is the pinnacle of club competition.

There is an even greater motivation to win because the champion of the Europa League is also automatically qualified for the Champions League the following year.

So what is the difference between the two top leagues on this continent? Is the Europa League just a bargain version of the Champions League? How is each contest set out? How many teams are there in the group stage? Let's find out together.

UCL vs UEL: Game format

Champions League Group Stages 

There are 24 clubs from various European leagues (ranging from first in the league down to fourth), the six winners of the preliminary round, the previous season's champion, and the winner of the Europa League from the previous season among the teams that advance to the Champions League group stages.

These 32 teams are then divided into eight groups of four, and each group plays the other twice in a mini-league. The top two teams from each of the eight groups advance to the round of 16, which follows the group stage.

The top two teams from each group and the other 16 teams are divided into two groups for the round of 16. The teams are then matched up and compete in a two-legged match, with the winner moving on to the quarterfinals.

For the quarterfinals, the eight remaining clubs are once more chosen at random, and they will face each other both at home and away. The final four teams are chosen after the quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals. The semi-finalists' winners then compete against one another in the championship round.

Europa League Group Stages 

The 32 participating teams compete in an eight-group group stage in the Europa League, which is followed by a round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and the championship match.

Teams that win specific domestic titles in their respective nations are entered into the Europa League, which is a key distinction between the two tournaments in terms of who actually qualifies for the group stages.

In addition to the six domestic cup winners, the group also includes the clubs who placed fourth or fifth in their respective leagues, the champion of the previous season's UEFA Conference League, and 10 other teams that advanced past the preliminary rounds.

Champions League vs Europa League: Money and reward

When you triumph in either competition, you will be given the following prizes:

  Europa League Champions League
Qualification for the Champions League of the following season Yes Yes
Super Cup qualification UEFA Super Cup UEFA Super Cup

With the exception of the prize money, the incentives for winning both events are fairly comparable.

Champions League Revenue 

A team will receive €15.6 million in the group stages only for participating in the six group games, plus €2.8 million for each win and €900,000 for each game that is drawn. A club that advances from the group stages will receive an additional €9.6 million simply for making it to the round of 16, and an additional €10.6 million to advance to the quarterfinals.

The clubs that are fortunate enough to advance to the semifinals will bring in an additional €12.5 million for the club. In addition, the winner receives €20 million while the runners-up receive €15.5 million. That astounding €85.140,000 in prize money would be awarded to a team that made it all the way to the finals and won the contest.

Europa League Revenue 

The only difference between the Europa League and the Champions League is that the Europa League's prize pool is much smaller.

A club must earn €3.63 million to qualify for the group stage. In addition, it receives €630,000 for wins and €210,000 for draws. The winning team receives an additional €1.1 million, and the runner-up receives an additional €550,000.

Teams get €1.2 million for making it to the round of 16, and €1.8 million for making it to the quarterfinals. The clubs of semi finalists receive an additional €2.8 million, and the ultimate champions of the Europa League receive an additional €4.6 million or €8.6 million.

Although these numbers are not insignificant, there is a huge difference when compared to the Champions League. It's understandable why teams are driven to compete in the best leagues.


There are 32 teams in both the Europa League and the Champions League. During the group stages of these two competitions, there are eight groups of four teams each.

Here is a summary of comparison of the two competitions:

Competition Champions League Europa league
Number of teams 32 teams  32 teams
Frequency Annually Annually
Duration 10 months 11 months
Rankings The highest tier of European Club Football Second-tier of European Club Football


UCL vs. UEL: Which one is more exciting to watch?


The teams in the Europa League are typically considered to be "less quality" than those in the Champions League. This is due to the fact that the Champions League has the top teams from each league as well as the previous season's Europa League and Champions League winners, whereas the Europa League features the next-best teams that did not advance to the Champions League.

If we were to evaluate which teams qualified for each competition, we would find that the 

Champions League often has the clubs with the best records from the prior year.

The teams competing in the Champions League final typically have stronger league records as well.

As a result, we might be able to infer that the quality of football matches in the Champions League may be significantly higher than that of the Europa League. These are some of the top clubs in their respective competitions, which may indicate that they have more resources to spend on much better players.

The Champions League has provided us with memorable matches like Liverpool vs. Barcelona (2018/19) or  Manchester City vs. Monaco (2016/17)

But there have also been some fascinating Europa League games, including Manchester United vs. Roma in 2020–21 or Arsenal vs. Valencia in 2018–19

Both competitions are extremely fascinating, especially since they allow other European clubs the chance to play one another!


The Europa League differs from the Champions League in that it is so utterly unpredictable. While great clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich largely control the knockout stages of the Champions League, the Europa League is rife with underdog teams upsetting the established order.


Teams from UEFA member nations compete in both the Champions League and the Europa League. If not, you must participate in the continental tournament in your nation of origin. This results in a diverse group of teams competing in the Europa League and Champions League.

Since these are typically the clubs that are not the champions of their respective domestic leagues, the Europa League will feature several teams that you may not be familiar with.
Some groups that you might not be familiar with are: Brøndby (Denmark); Sturm Graz (Austria); Antwerp (Belgium);...


The Europa League and the Champions League are two of the world's most prestigious club competitions. Given that European football is undoubtedly the greatest in the world and draws the best players, these two competitions give the top teams from these continents a chance to face off.

However, it is feasible to assume that the quality of the teams in the Champions League will be higher compared to the Europa League based on the clubs who qualified for each competition!