Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Europa League Match Day 6 Preview

The Europa League Group Stages come to a close this week, and half of the 48 teams will move onto the knockout stages. These 24 teams will be joined by the 8 third placed Champions League teams in Friday’s draw.

Of the 12 Europa League groups, 6 are effectively over already. In groups A, E, F, H, I & L the top two teams have secured qualification regardless of this week’s results. Interestingly, the Italian teams have not been having a good time of things, with Juventus, Palermo and Sampdoria out of the competition, Napoli are the only Serie A team with a chance of going through.

In Group B Atletico Madrid are in a tough situation as they must achieve a better result than Aris Salonika. The Greek side are ahead of Atletico on head to head record after beating them both home and away. Lille are two points away from qualification in Group C and must beat Gent at home on Thursday in order to progress.

Only two points separate the top three teams in Group D, where Villarreal need a point away to Club Bruges to guarantee progression. In Group G, third placed Anderlecht are three points off second and need to win and hope that Zenit St Petersburg beat AEK Athens in Greece.

The most exciting match is potentially in Group J, where Sevilla host Borussia Dortmund at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. PSG have already qualified because of their head to head record against Dortmund, and the runaway leaders in the Bundesliga can only qualify by defeating Sevilla tonight. Finally in Group K, where Liverpool have already secured qualification, Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli currently lie third in the group, but will go through if they defeat Steaua Bucharest tonight at home.

Sadly, of the 32 places available in Friday’s knockout round draw, only 7 remain up for grabs. However, there are still some interesting ties going on and several big European teams may go crashing out over the next two days.

Europa League Tables in full

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