Europa League – Best of the Rest – Round of 32 (Leg 1)

With 16 matchups in the Europa League’s Round of 32, we simply couldn’t write about them all. We did write about eight of the most compelling matchups, either because one of the clubs is a favorite to make it all the way to Baku, or because both clubs have about an equal chance to reach the next round and a small chance to make it all the way themselves.

Here’s the list with links to previews of those eight matchups:

As for the other eight matchups, here’s a brief look at each of those matches, including the favored club for the Round of 32 (according to FiveThirtyEight). Depending on how the first match goes this week, we may cover these eight matches a little more in depth next week.

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Europa League – Round of 32 Draw

Europa League is taking a break until February now that the group stage is complete. But before it does, they needed to determine the pairings for the next round of matches.

The draw took place on 17 December at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The knockout phase in Europa features 16 more clubs than Champions League, and another round, so they’ll be playing (nearly) weekly matches once play resumes on 14 February.

As a reminder, here’s how the twelve groups were settled during group play:

GroupWinners (seeded in draw)Runners-up (unseeded in draw)
ABayer Leverkusen (GER)Zürich (SUI)
BRed Bull Salzburg (AUT)Celtic (SCO)
CZenit Saint Petersburg (RUS)Slavia Prague (CZE)
DDinamo Zagreb (CRO)Fenerbahçe (TUR)
EArsenal (ENG)Sporting CP (POR)
FReal Betis (ESP)Olympiacos (GRE)
GVillarreal (ESP)Rapid Wien (AUT)
HEintracht Frankfurt (GER)Lazio (ITA)
IGenk (BEL)Malmö FF (SWE)
JSevilla (ESP)Krasnodar (RUS)
KDynamo Kyiv (UKR)Rennes (FRA)
LChelsea (ENG)BATE Borisov (BLR)

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Europa League – Matchday 6 Scenarios (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1 and a look at all the settled groups in Europa League.

There are eight groups – and 23 clubs – that will actually have something to play for during Matchday 6. I’ve broken these eight groups into two groups of four: those with one spot open and those with both spots open. I tried to outline all the scenarios based on potential outcomes today without diving too deep into the tiebreakers; if seeding or advancement comes down to disciplinary points (the 11th tiebreaker), than you won’t find those here. (I’m just honestly not that great at predicting scores).

The completely open groups will be discussed in Part 3, which is where the most excitement will be happening. In both posts, I’m going to be referencing the FiveThirtyEight Europa League Predictions to show which clubs are favored for what spots, so feel free to open that link in a separate window/tab so I don’t have to keep linking it later.

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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 and 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 1 Recap

The first 24 matches have been completed in the Europa 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 in 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 2 matchup at Fenerbahçe will be important. But the Turkish club will also be looking for a win because…

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