Europa League – Matchday 5 Recap

We have completed five matches in the group stage of Europa League, and over half of the participants (13 of 24) for the knockout stage have secured their advancement: Bayer Leverkusen leads Group A with 10 points (goal differential of +3), ahead of… Z├╝rich because Zurich only has 9 points after losing yesterday ­čÖü Red … Read moreEuropa League – Matchday 5 Recap

Europa League – Matchday 4 Recap

We have completed four matches in the group stage of Europa League, and unlike the Champions League, where only one club has punched their ticket to the next round, there are seven clubs in Europa that have clinched no worse than second in their respective groups:

  • Bayer Leverkusen leads Group A with 9 points (goal differential of +3), ahead of…
  • Z├╝rich because Bayer leads in away goals in head-to-head matchups
  • Dinamo Zagreb is undefeated in Group D and leads second place Fenerbah├že by five points
  • Arsenal leads Group E, and plays the two worst teams in the group over the last two matches
  • Eintracht Frankfurt leads Group H and is undefeated, including a victory over…
  • Lazio, who hopes to enter Matchday 6 with a chance at the group in their rematch against Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Chelsea, undefeated in Group L

These seven clubs have been assured of advancing into the next round of Europa League, where the eight third-place finishers in Champions League group stage will join the tournament. That group currently includes clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, and Valencia, which is why those three clubs are in the top ten in odds for winning Europa this season. Chelsea remains favored thus far, both for their dominating performance in Group L, but also for their play in the Premier League this season.

Nevertheless, some of the most exciting action in Europa League this week didn’t involve these seven clubs, so here’s a brief look at some of the results and why it caught our attention:

Celtic 2-1 RB Leipzig
Celtic may not have moved into second place in Group B due to this victory – they remain behind RB Leipzig due to head-to-head goal difference – but they kept themselves in the tournament for at least another match. They started the group stage as the second best club in the group behind Red Bull Salzburg, but found themselves buried in third place after a Matchday 3 loss to Leipzig. By winning Thursday, however, they ensure that they could be fighting for a spot in the next round should they repeat their performance against group weakling Rosenborg in a couple of weeks, setting up a final group stage matchday where the top three clubs could be playing to advance.

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Europa League – Matchday 3 Recap

We are halfway through the group stage of Europa League, and just like over in the Champions League, nobody has yet clinched their respective group. However, six of the 12 groups are led by clubs with three wins:

These six clubs have a leg up on at least finishing second in their respective groups, especially the clubs (Zagreb and Chelsea) that have a second-place club that doesn’t have six points. Chelsea remains the overall favorite, even among teams that might show up after finishing third in their Champions League group (we see you Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur!).

These are some of the results from the third day of matches from Europa League that caught our attention, based on pre-tournament UEFA rankings┬áand where the match took place. Matches that moved a club closer to clinching a spot in the next round – or securing their ouster – will also get some attention. Home teams are listed first:

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Europa League – Matchday 2 Recap

The next 24 matches have been completed in the Europa League, and they mostly went as expected, with only five road clubs coming away with victories. But there were still some surprises, and this will highlight some of those results.

These are some of the results from the second day of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location) that piqued our interest. We’ll also be referencing clubs’ chances to win their group or advance, and I am using the great UEFA Europa League Predictions over at FiveThirtyEight for that (so I don’t have to keep linking it in multiple spots). Home teams are listed first:

Malmo FF 2-0 Besiktas
Sarpsborg 08 3-1 Genk
I wanted to highlight both matches from Group I because they made the group the only one with all four clubs tied with three points after two matches. It also continued the trend of the home teams winning, with all four matches played thus far in the group having won by the hosting club. Nominally, Sarpsborg is leading the group because they’ve scored the most goals (yet have the lowest odds of reaching the next round per FiveThirtyEight), and Malmo is in last place because they’ve scored the fewest, but Matchday 3 should hopefully allow for some separation. Note: Sarpsborg and Besiktas are the home clubs in three weeks, soplace your bets if you think the home team trend is going to continue.

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Europa League – Matchday 1 Recap

The first 24┬ámatches have been completed in the┬áEuropa League, and they mostly went as expected. But there were still some surprises, and this will highlight some of those results. Here are some of the more shocking results of the first round of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). I’ll also be referencing clubs’ chances to win their group or advance, and I am using the great UEFA Europa League Predictions over at FiveThirtyEight for that (so I don’t have to keep linking it in multiple spots). Home teams are listed first:

Slavia Prague 1-0 Bordeaux
Slavia Prague entered their opening match against French club Bordeux as the 153rd ranked club according to UEFA. Bordeaux, the sixth place club from Ligue 1, was ranked 115th. Not a huge discrepancy, and not the largest gap of any of these matches profiled today. Nevertheless, the result was fairly shocking, even if it didn’t have a huge impact on Prague reaching the Round of 32 (27% per FiveThirtyEight) nor winning the group outright (8%). In match 2, Prague faces off against Zenit Saint Petersburg┬áin Russia, the nominal best club in the group (ranked 16th by UEFA), so it remains to be seen if they remain in the top position for much longer.

Spartak Trnava 1-0 Anderlecht
Group D was the only group that saw its top two clubs (according to UEFA rankings) lose, and both winning teams took advantage of a home pitch advantage to do so. The first matchup saw Spartak Trnava, the lone club from Slovakia to make it to the Group Stage, defeat Anderlecht of Belgium. Trnava entered the match ranked 282nd according to UEFA, while Anderlecht was the 33rd ranked team. Anderlecht also joined Europa at the Group Stage, while Trnava had to make it through the play-off round after losing in the third qualifying round of the Champions League (to one of our favorite Small Clubs Red Star Belgrade). Despite the upset, however, Trnava remains the least favored club from the group to advance on to the round of 32, so a strong showing in its Matchday┬á2 matchup at Fenerbah├že┬áwill be important. But the Turkish club will also be looking for a win because…

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Europa League – Group Draw

After two and a half months of qualifying play, we’ve finally reached the Group Stage of the UEFA Europa League! But before matches kick off on 20 September, the qualifiers had to be drawn into their respective groups.

Unlike the Champions League, where 32 teams compete at the group level, there are 48 teams in the Europa League tournament: 17 teams that enter directly at the Group Stage, 21 winners from the Europa League play-off round, 6 losers from the Champions League playoff round, and 4 League Path losers from the Champions League third qualifying round. The first and second place clubs from each group – as well as the 8 third-place teams from the Champions League Group Stage – will move onto the next round of Europa League, but that won’t happen until December after all group stage matches are played.

The 17 teams that are placed directly into the Europa League at the Group Stage are pulled from the following associations, based on the associations rank per the UEFA coefficient:

  • 12 domestic cup winners from associations 1-12
  • 1 domestic league fourth-placed team from association 5
  • 4 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 1-4

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