Saracens have qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-final stage for the third time in three years and after the final whistle a message flashed up on the Allianz Park screen, congratulating those involved in this feat.

It stated Sarries were now at the top table at Europe - a bold statement.

Saracens are yet to beat top French opposition on their quest to become Europe’s finest.

2012 saw the Men in Black pushed aside by a powerful Clermont Auvergne outfit and last year a Jonny Wilkinson inspired Toulon team ended Sarries’ dreams of their first ever final appearance.

This year Saracens failed to secure a victory over French giants Toulouse, both home and away.

The Stade Ernest-Wallon is not a venue you expect to walk away from with an easy four points but with Connacht achieving that feat earlier on in the pool stages, expectations were high.

After all, if you want to be the best you’ve got to go to these kinds of places and a get a result.

Saracens chose to stage the home fixture of this mammoth clash away from Allianz Park, at their second home, Wembley Stadium. It's a decision that may now be questioned.

But was the exposure, the financial incentives and the sense of occasion worth giving away home advantage for?

Since their move to their Barnet home Saracens have only been defeated once at Allianz Park.

This loss came in the Premiership semi-final against fierce rivals Northampton Saints in May, a game all involved would rather forget.

That hiccup aside, Allianz Park has become a fortress.

Many a side has come unstuck there this season and tries have been scored a-plenty, just ask Connacht and Leicester.

Saracens dominated the game against the former Heineken Cup champions back in October, only to lose by a single point.

There is no saying that if the game was played with home comforts the result would be any different but there will always be that, 'what if?'

There is no denying that Saracens wouldn’t be the club they are without money.

The Premiership is seemingly becoming a league of two halves, the haves and the have-nots but surely winning is the most important thing of all?

Mark McCall’s men now face the prospect of a quarter-final away to Ulster in a replay of this stage last year.

Although the fixture may seem a less daunting task than a trip to the cauldrons of Clermont Auvergne or Toulon, Saracens will still have to be at their very best in order to come out on top come April.

The 'ifs and buts' are now in the past.

To become the top team in Europe you have to beat the best no matter where you are playing.