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Breaking It Down

First, second, and third place in Italy qualify directly for the group stage of 32 teams, while the fourth placed team must begin their efforts earlier during the third stage of the qualifying rounds. As it stands, our club's "tied" with Milan at 71 points apiece. Fiorentina, who tied with Lecce this afternoon, remains in fourth with 68 points. But oh my, how the devil's in the details.

Right down to the wire. Typical Italians. For Juventus, a win next week against Lazio will ensure a second place finish in Serie A (no matter what Milan or Fiorentina do). That my friends is a great feeling after a weekend of great results. Here's the way the cookie crumbles:

Juventus Win: Second place and automatic round of 32 qualification.

Juventus Tie/Milan Tie: We still get second.

Juventus Tie/Loss Milan Win: We've got third place, but the automatic round of 32 as well.

Juventus Defeat/Milan Defeat: Yup, we still get second. Here's why:

Florence - Italy, Sunday August 31 2008, 08:30 PM
Stadio "Artemio Franchi"

Fiorentina 1 - Juventus 1

Goalscorers: Nedvěd at 39'; Gilardino at 44'

Turin - Italy, Sunday December 14 2008, 08:30 PM
Stadio Olimpico

Juventus 4 - Milan 2

Goalscorers: Del Piero pen. at 16', Pato at 31', Chiellini at 34', Amauri at 41'; Ambrosini at 11', Amauri at 24'

Turin - Italy, Sunday January 25 2009, 03:00 PM
Stadio Olimpico

Juventus 1 - Fiorentina 0

Goalscorer: Marchisio C. at 21'

Milan - Italy, Sunday May 10 2009, 08:30 PM
Stadio "Giuseppe Meazza" - San Siro

Milan 1 - Juventus 1

Goalscorers: Seedorf at 12', Iaquinta at 15'

As you can see, we've got the head-to-head advantage over both Milan and Fiorentina. So we abso-fucking-lutely qualify for the round of 32 in the UEFA Champions League. Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Claudio Ranieri for the good work he did throughout this year. More specifically I'd like to applaud the way he always prepared our lads for battle against our rivals exceptionally well. It was our poor performances against those provincial teams that got his ass canned in the end.

Juventus' new coach Ciro Ferrara speaks to hsi players during their serie A football matchagainst Siena at Artemio Franchi stadium in Siena on May 24, 2009.

Some things you might already know:

Prize Money

UEFA awards €3 million to each team that qualifies for the UEFA Champions League, plus €2.4 million for participating in the Group stage. A Group stage win is worth €600,000 and a draw is worth €300,000. In addition, UEFA pays each quarter finalist €2.5 million, €3 million for each semi-finalist, €4 million for the runners-up and €7 million for the winners.

Serie A

"Since Italy is currently rated as one of the top three European countries in terms of club football ratings, the top four teams in the Serie A qualified for the UEFA Champions League. The top three teams qualify directly to the group phase, while the fourth placed team enters the competition at the third qualifying round and must win a two-legged knockout tie in order to enter the group phase. Teams finishing 5th and 6th qualify for the UEFA Europa League Tournament."

"Since 2005–06, if two or more teams end the season with the same number of points, the ordering is determined by their head-to-head records. In case two or more teams have same total points and same head-to-head records, goal difference becomes the secondary deciding factor." - Wikipedia

One more interesting thing to note about next week's Milan-Fiorentina match. If Fiorentina can beat Milan by a larger margin then Milan beat them by earlier this season (1-0), the Viola would leapfrog Milan into third place. Here's some highlights from Siena.