UEFA Europa League: What to look out for – UEFA.com - Techy Hunters

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Monday, August 30, 2021

UEFA Europa League: What to look out for – UEFA.com

The 2020/21 UEFA Europa League gets under way on 16 September with 32 teams aiming for the final in Seville.

UEFA.com picks out some sure-fire headline-makers for Matchday 1.

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What to look out for?


Top ten Europa League goals of 2020/21

Top ten Europa League goals of 2020/21

Group of death?
The new UEFA Europa League format delivered on its promise to guarantee competitive groups, but which of them was the most competitive? That Leverkusen-Celtic-Real Betis-Ferencváros line-up in Group G looks fearsome, but spare a thought for Lokomotiv Moskva; the Railwaymen are the only side in Group E who have not won a European trophy, the three-time Russian champions up against 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup victors Lazio, 1992/93 European champions Marseille and 1999/2000 UEFA Cup winners Galatasaray. 

Legia boss’s field of dreams
Group C looked like a group of death for Spartak Moskva official Evgeny Melezhikov, who told UEFA.com “I think this qualifies” after his side were pooled with Napoli, Leicester and Legia Warszawa. However, Legia boss Czesław Michniewicz cannot quite believe his luck. “We will face my favourite coach, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers,” he said. “[Last year], I was at Napoli-Barcelona. I was sitting in the stadium dreaming about playing there one day as coach. And the dream came true!”


Lyon vs Sparta: 2012/13 Europa League flashback

Lyon vs Sparta: 2012/13 Europa League flashback

No prizes for second
Under the new format, only the top teams in each of the groups qualify for the round of 16. The runners-up must face one of the third-placed sides in the UEFA Champions League in the new knockout round play-offs. It’s a change which will keep all the contenders on their toes from the off. As Lyon sporting director Juninho Pernambucano, put it: “Our task is even tougher now that only the group winner qualifies directly. It’s important we start well.” His side must get to grips with Rangers, Sparta Praha and Brøndby.

Further ahead?


Rangers v Antwerp: All 14 goals of crazy tie

Rangers v Antwerp: All 14 goals of crazy tie

• Expect the unexpected when Rangers come up against Lyon; the Light Blues beat the French side 3-0 at their old Stade de Gerland home in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, only to lose at home by the same score in the return fixture, Karim Benzema scoring twice.

• West Ham are the 17th Premier League club to feature in the UEFA Europa League group stage. The East London side have not qualified for Europe that often, but won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, and reached the final of the same competition in 1976. Do they have what it takes to reach the final in Seville?

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Key dates

Group stage
16 September: Matchday 1
30 September: Matchday 2
21 October: Matchday 3
4 November: Matchday 4
25 November: Matchday 5
9 December: Matchday 6


The Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will host the final

The Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will host the finalUEFA via Getty Images

Knockout stage
13 December: Knockout round play-offs draw
17 & 24 February: Knockout round play-offs
25 February: Round of 16 draw
10 & 17 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
7 & 14 April: Quarter-finals
28 April & 5 May: Semi-finals
18 May: Final (Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, Sevilla)

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