Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has recently said that the group stages of the UEFA Champions League always have a tendency to get a bit boring because of the gulfs in class that usually exist between the teams in each group.
Per a new report from the Daily Record, he’s an advocate for some of the changes that UEFA will be making for the tournament’s group stages, as Scotland will now have two places in the Champions League due to cracking into the top 15 of the coefficient rankings and they will also have one spot in the Europa League. It will likely be Rangers, Celtic, and one of either Aberdeen or Hibernian that occupy those three spots.
“The biggest problem of the Champions League is currently the Group Stage because this threatens to get a little boring,” Rummenigge said. “I know UEFA are working on a plan that will make that stage of the competition more attractive. People will like what they come up with - I’m convinced of that too.”
Essentially, the goal is to try and make the group stages less lopsided from group-to-group, while still giving teams with lower league coefficients the chance(s) to make it through the group stage qualifying rounds.
Rummenigge also said that he was a fan of the knockout tournament in Portugal last season that introduced a single elimination format instead of the standard two-legged affairs. It eliminated teams playing for a draw or teams adjusting their tactics based off of the aggregate system. While it [single elimination knockouts] could be a huge financial loss for UEFA assuming fans are allowed back in stadiums and allowed to travel at some point in the not-so-distant future, a large majority of fans loved the excitement of the tournament in Portugal, and in Germany for the Europa League, respectively.
“Last season’s method of elimination from the quarter finals was exhilarating. The Super Bowl in the United States is a good example. That sounds good to my ears,” Rummenigge exclaimed.
Perhaps in the future, we could also see a return of the single elimination knockout formats at neutral venues where both sets of supporters could travel, once that is deemed safe and feasible.