Right now, the group stage of the Champions League has turned into an absolute joke. The big clubs know they're fighting for seeding while the small clubs are fighting to make the Europa League and it's only a small number in between actually in question whether they'll advance or not. Even worse, the differences between the teams are so stark that most of the matches on the last matchday are actually dead rubbers. This year, 12 teams from outside the Top 6 nations qualified for the Champions League. Of those 12 teams, 11 are already eliminated with one matchday to go! Yes, that's right only one team out of 12 even made it to the last matchday with a chance to advance, Besiktas, who currently sits 3rd in their group. Here's the breakdown of minnow league teams by opponent: Minnow league teams vs. Top 4: 1-7-26 Minnow league teams vs. 5 and 6: 0-4-8 Minnow league teams overall: 1-11-34 That's right, teams from leagues ranked 7 or lower played 46 matches against teams from the top 6 leagues and they won ONE. ONE! Obviously, something needs to change. I say, why not split them up? Let the Europa League be for only teams from the smaller leagues. Get rid of teams like Manchester United and Inter Milan that are just playing B teams throughout the group stage anyway, half hoping to get eliminated so they can focus on their leagues, and instead include teams like Celtic, Club Brugge, and Dinamo Zagreb who could put up a good fight there and would be very proud to be in the competition who instead don't get a chance in the Europa League after getting blown out in the CL group stage and finishing bottom. I think this plan would greatly increase the prestige of the Europa League as it would be all about proud clubs who cared trying to win it, rather than big clubs just hoping not to get "embarrassed" with their B squad against a smaller team's A squad. As for the Champions League, instead of keeping it at 32 teams and letting in a bunch of teams who failed in their league campaigns, I'd cut the group stage down to 16 teams. Put the teams who finish lower into a new cup with a straight KO format. Call it the Continental Cup or something. If only the Top 3 teams from each of the Top 4 leagues made it in plus the champions of France and Portugal, the CL winner, and the Continental Cup winner, what an exciting competition we'd have! Imagine groups like this: Group A Real Madrid Benfica Napoli Arsenal Group B Barcelona PSG Borussia Dortmund Sevilla (Continental Cup winner's spot for winning Europa League) Group C Bayern Munich Atletico Madrid Tottenham Hotspur Roma Group D Juventus Leicester City Bayer Leverkeusen Villarreal (4th team allocated to Spain for Spain winning CL) Now tell me those groups wouldn't be must-see TV on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! No team will be able to cruise through to safety, and every team will feel like they at least have some chance of advancing before it starts. Just seems like a much better solution than turning the champions of every smaller league into cannon fodder in a competition they can't possibly win, and then having the competition proper start in the knockout stages.