Last Tuesday, group H of the Champions League 2019/20 was decided, and the Dutch football (soccer) club Ajax ended up third place with as many as 10 points, failing to qualify for the next round since both Valencia and Chelsea have 11.

It's rather unlikely not to qualify with 11 points; that means two other teams need to have at least 11 points, for a total of 33 points. There are 12 matches in the group stage, for a total of 36 points, so there are at most three draws; this can only happen if the three teams beat the fourth team twice, and their six head-to-head matches end up in one win, one loss and two draws for each team; each team ends up with 11 points, but goals fore/against may make a distinction here.

Similarly, there's only one scenario where a team with 12 points doesn't qualify: if two other teams have 12 points, when all matches are decisive, they all beat the fourth team and they all win exactly two out of four head-to-head matches.

In the history of the Champions League, have any other teams failed to qualify for the next round (in a group of 4, where the top 2 qualify) with as much as 10 points? What about other (high level) football competitions?


1 Answer 1


It's mathematically impossible not to qualify with 11 points

That is not correct.

Is Ajax the first team not to qualify for the next stage with as much as 10 points?


During the 2013-2014 UEFA Champions League, in the Group F, Napoli finished 3rd of its group and didn't qualify.

  1. Dortmund 12 (+5)
  2. Arsenal 12 (+3)
  3. Napoli 12 (+1)
  4. Marseille 0 (-9)

It also happened in old format during the 1997-1998 UEFA Champions League for the PSG, eliminated with 12 Pts in the group E and ranked third of "runners-up" (only the two first qualify).

Source : https://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=2568008.html

Also see : Highest Points to finish Runner-Up in Champions League Group? Lowest points to win Champions League Group?

  • Ah, right (so +1), and 11 points is possible too (but I guess it never happened before)?
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 21:05
  • If all of the top three teams in a group have 11 points, they necessarily all beat the last team twice, drew once with each of the others, and then beat one but lost to the other. One of these three teams will be eliminated by other tiebreakers.
    – Nij
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 21:41
  • If the third team has 11 points, it is impossible for the second team to have 12 points (though the first team could have 12 points, and only by winning four, losing two).
    – Nij
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 21:48

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