Corriere dello Sport (Francesco Guerrieri) 90 more minutes to go in the league, then Serie A goes on its summer holidays. But despite Roma and Napoli vying for it all season, the race for 2nd place is still open: the Giallorossi are currently 1 point ahead of Sarri’s side. And if they beat Genoa on Sunday, they will qualify for the Champions League automatically.
At the moment, Roma are in Pot 4, but Spalletti’s team are very likely to move up to Pot 3. They could do so as early as tonight, if Manchester United lose the Europa League final against Ajax. In that case, Napoli would climb from Pot 3 to Pot 2, and Roma from Pot 4 to Pot 3. Another possible route would be if one of the 6 clubs (Olympiacos, Sevilla, Liverpool, Napoli, Dynamo Kiev and Ajax) who have a higher coefficient than Roma (53.666) are knocked out. That isn’t impossible, given that Dynamo Kiev, Ajax, Liverpool and Sevilla all have to go through the play-offs. And Napoli, for now.
If Roma were to end up in Pot 3, they would definitely avoid Tottenham (who have already qualified for the group stage). With a bit of luck, the Giallorossi could end up in a group with Spartak Moscow and Porto. But oddly, there is more chance of getting a less-fancied opponent (like Spartak or Shakhtar Donetsk) in Pot 1 than in Pot 2, where the most dangerous side is definitely Barcelona. Independent of who Roma could draw in the group stage, however, Pot 2 is full of strong teams, like Manchester City, who overhauled Liverpool at the last and qualified for the group stage, or Borussia Dortmund, who avoided the preliminary round after a crazy 4-3 in the last game of the Bundesliga against Werder Bremen (with Hoffenheim being held 0-0 against Augsburg). There is also Atletico Madrid, PSG, Porto, Sevilla (who need to get through the play-off) and, if they win the Europa League against Ajax tonight, Manchester United.
Otherwise the Red Devils wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League, Napoli would go into Pot 2 – play-offs permitting – and Roma into Pot 3. In Pot 1, meanwhile, are all the teams who have won their respective leagues: the last one to qualify was Shakhtar Donetsk, thanks to the victories of Juventus and Real Madrid – the Champions League finalists – in their respective leagues.
If Roma were to be overtaken by Napoli on the final day of the season, they would play in the play-offs for the 2nd season in a row. In that case, the Giallorossi would be seeded (like Napoli, if they finish 3rd), with CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, Hoffenheim, Club Brugge and Nice among the possible opponents. There are a lot of permutations ahead, but first there is still 90 minutes to play and a game – against Genoa – that could be decisive, as the leagues draw to a close and the pots for next season’s European competitions are decided.