Europa League – Celtic v Valencia – Round of 32

The Europa League begins its next round in a few days, so we will be highlighting the matchups featuring either clubs with a chance to win it all or match-ups that could see either team pull out a victory and move on to the Round of 16.

While Europa League is not packed with the big names of the Champions League, there are still some high quality clubs playing for the title, and with it, an automatic berth in the Group Stage of next season’s Champions League.

Our next matchup features Scottish club Celtic F.C.who will be playing host to Valencia at Celtic Park on 14 February 2019 at 8:00pm GMT (3:00pm EST).

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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 1)

The final day of the Europa League group stage is here, and we have five of the 12 groups unsettled at the top, with three groups that are still looking for both participants in the knockout phase. 23 clubs enter Matchday 6 playing for 11 remaining spots, attempting to join the 13 clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Dynamo Kyiv, Red Bull Salzburg, Lazio, Sporting CP, Fenerbahce, Real Betis, Dinamo Zagreb, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Zurich – that have already clinched advancement.

Why Winning the Group Matters

For the groups still left to be completely decided, it is in the clubs’ best interest to finish in first place if possible. As a refresher, the knockout phase of Europa League features the first and second place clubs from each of the 12 groups – plus the eight third-place teams from Champions League. Clubs are drawn against each other for two legs (with clubs from the same association unable to face each other), with the group winners and the top four third-place teams seeded for the draw.

Read moreEuropa League – Matchday 6 Scenarios (Part 1)

(UPDATED) Champions League – Matchday 6 Scenarios

It’s time for Matchday 6 in Champions League. Four matches will be played each of the next two days, and while some of the matches won’t matter, there are still 12 spots up for grabs in the knockout phase. Beyond that, there are three groups that have yet to find a third-place finisher – those clubs head over to Europa League’s knockout phase – so we will try to point you towards the games that matter before the Champions League takes a two month hiatus and returns in February.

It’s important to win the group in order to be seeded in the draw for the knockout phase. The seeded team gets to host the second match of the two legs, allowing the seeded club to overcome a poor road showing in their first match if necessary. As mentioned, third place clubs head to Europa, and they too want to do their best, as the top four third-place finishers are seeded in the knockout phase of Europa League.

I’ll be using FiveThirtyEight’s Champions League Predictions when I talk about the various chances for placement within the groups, and reflect the club’s chances of claiming that particular spot. Here’s a group-by-group summary of how today’s results will impact the ending tables, with teams in bold locked into that position:

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Champions League – Matchday 2 Recap

The next 16 matches have been completed in the Champions League, and we have what is probably the first real upset, at least if pre-League expectations are to be believed. We also had all the Premier League teams ending with disappointing results, and our two Small Clubs in the draw – Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade – pretty much punch their tickets out of the competition with terrible 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). Home teams are listed first:

Bayern Munich 1-1 Ajax
Bayern Munich is the second best club in UEFA, at least according to the club rankings. Ajax isn’t chopped liver, but they are currently ranked 29th. But the club from the Netherlands went into Munich and picked up a draw, and with it, first place in Group E after two matches. Bayern has to be disappointed in dropping two points in a home match, especially when most of the other favorites in other groups are sitting with six points after two matches. It could be worse, I suppose, and playing AEK Athens in three weeks might be just what the doctor ordered to right the ship for Bayern.

CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid
As bad as it is to draw against a lesser team, at least Bayern didn’t lose to Ajax. We can’t say the same about Real Madrid, the NUMBER ONE TEAM in UEFA, who lost to the team right behind Ajax in the rankings. Granted, the match was in Moscow, and Real remains the favorite in Group G, but it should be viewed as a wake-up call for the defending Champions League champs.

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