Bologna's historic return: Qualify for UCL for first time in 60 years

Thaigo Motta's men have been a revelation this season, after their poor pre-season and mounting an unexpected challenge for a top-four finish in Serie A.

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Anirban Bose
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Bologna qualify for UCL

Bologna qualify for UCL (Source- Twitter)

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Serie A will have an extra place in the UEFA Champions League in the upcoming season due to the newer format of 36 teams in the tournament from the 2024/25 season. Due to the better coefficient, the Italian league will have 5 teams in the UCL for the upcoming season. However, if Atalanta, who is in the final of the UEFA Europa League, wins the tournament, they will anyway go as winners to the marquee club competition and that will lead AS Roma to qualify. 

However, champions Inter Milan and AC Milan already secured their place in the UCL, the third place Bologna on Sunday also confirmed their berth after they won away from home against Napoli 2-0, securing a place after 60 years. They will compete in the Champions League for the first time since 1964 when the club made the preliminary stage but did not proceed to the group stages. This also makes their first participation in European competitions since 2002 when they played in the Intertoto Cup.  

Thiago Motta's men have been a revelation this season, after their poor pre-season and mounting an unexpected challenge for a top-four finish in Serie A. The former footballer in his playing career has two La Liga titles, one Serie A title, five Ligue 1 titles and two Champions League winners medals. As a coach, he transformed the club from Serie A strugglers to one that can compete with the league leaders as well. 

Thiago Motta's inspiring journey with Bologna

He signed for the club back in 2022 after taking over from much-loved Sinisa Mihajlovic in controversial circumstances. He was winless in his first four games as a manager and asked for some time from the fans. After they finished 9th in the league table in 2022/23 year which was the club's best in the decade. However, in the ongoing season, he transformed the team as the team in defensive foundation is one of the strongest in Europe this season with just 0.8 non-penalty expected goals conceded. 

Juventus will also be back at the top-tier European competition alongside the other three clubs after they failed to qualify last season. With four teams already confirmed Atalanta is in fifth place and Roma just behind them will look to close down the gap of three points however the former club has played one game less. 

Serie A Bologna