Why Borussia Dortmund winning the Champions League matters to Hearts

There will be many Hearts fans who were already planning to cheer on underdogs Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League final against European kings Real Madrid next weekend.

But how could a momentous victory for the German side affect the Gorgie outfit?

With Atalanta spectacularly ending Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten run to win the Europa League on Wednesday night, Hearts are one step closer to automatically entering the group stage of that very competition next term, as reported by Scotland's Coefficient on X.

Steven Naismith's men are already guaranteed group stage football and are currently scheduled to enter the Europa League play-off round. A defeat there would see them drop into the Conference League, as they did in 2022.

But if Dortmund lift the Champions League next Saturday, the coefficient rankings will shift and Hearts will be given a bye straight into the group stage of the continent's second tier competition.

It would mean far tougher opposition, as well as a greater financial boost, going from six games to eight games in the Europa League.