Europa League enhanced odds
The Europa League is followed by football supporters in Europa and beyond. UEFA’s second-string competition behind the Champions League, it hands clubs several non-title winning teams across the continent a chance to taste glory and become champions of Europe. In most cases, the early stages of this tournament is open to clubs who have failed to win their domestic leagues but have gone close, finishing in one of the major places.
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The number of teams qualifying to the Europa League from a country depends on how well-ranked the division is. For example, in the English Premier League each of the top four sides qualify for the Champions League but there’s a consolation prize for those ending fifth to eighth, dropping into the Europa League. In the Scottish Premiership, however, only the league winners qualify for the Champions League but the runners up as well as third and fourth enter the early qualifying rounds of this tournament.
For many years, the Europa League was viewed as something of an unwanted distraction by major clubs but that has all changed in recent years. Jose Mourinho led his Manchester United team to Europa League glory and in doing so they gained a place in the following year’s Champions League. Given just how competitive the top tier of English football has become, some teams will rate winning the Europa League as a more achievable goal than finishing in the top four of the Champions League.
About the Europa League
A total of 160 teams are involved in the Europa League at first with the numbers cut down through the qualifiers to leave 48 for the group stages. The Europa League was previously known as the UEFA Cup and many UK teams enjoyed success in that competition before it was rebranded to its current form. The team winning the Europa League will face-off against the side winning the Champions League in a match for what is known as the UEFA Super Cup.
This competition first came into existence in 1971 but has taken on many different shapes over the years with the name also changing. In 1999 the popular UEFA Cup Winners Cup was folded up and merged with the UEFA Cup to create a more exciting competition and one more major clubs were interested in trying to win.
Over the years Spanish clubs have dominated this tournament and La Liga representatives are showing no signs of releasing that grip. The most successful side to date is Sevilla who won what was their sixth Europa League title in 2020. Incredibly, Sevilla have won each time they have contested the final. Next in line is Italian Serie A side Inter Milan on three wins and two runners up. Liverpool of the English Premier League are third on three wins and one second, joined by Juventus.
Europa League format
The Europa League begins in summer with the qualifying first round and this stage usually pairs teams over two legs, home and away. The winners advance to the next round until they face a playoff for a place in the groups.
In the group stage of the competition teams are drawn into pools of four with each club playing each other in their group twice, once at their home stadium and once at the home of their opponents. These are two single matches with three points awarded to the winner or one for a draw. The top two teams in each group after six group games advance to the playoff rounds where they are drawn against another and play over two legs. This time aggregate scores count with extra-time and penalties available to determine a winner if needed.