The UEFA Europa League is a national league competition, sanctioned by the Union of European Football Associations, for teams from the European countries who are playing in the Champions League. The competition also serves as the only knockout competition for non Champions League countries to acquire one of the available places in the tournament. Each country is able to enter one team per season. The competition has been running since 1987 and was due to become a Super League before its expansion. It has been a part of the English football culture ever since its inception.
One of the most popular competitions around is the EUROPA LEAGUE. The competition is well known for its high profile matches between big names such as AC Milan, Manchester United, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Celtic and Manchester City. It also features other smaller teams who compete in the competition as the name suggests. There is no doubt that the competition is fierce with six round robin stages and many have called it the most exciting European game.
Many fans consider the EUROPA LEAGUE as their favorite cup competition with the current record of eight trophies already being given out. With the upcoming quarter finals already scheduled to take place in 14 June this means that the competition for the cup is already on the rise. The potential for upsets as well as ties to be played is always there in a European club competition. This also makes this tournament very unpredictable and a draw for fans.
As for the teams qualifying for the EUROPA LEAGUE, they must first win their respective groups in order to progress to the knockout rounds. Then they will have a final against fifth-placed Bordeaux-based side FC Steaua in the group stage before they go into the semis. The quarter finals and semi-finals will be played at home and the fifth-placed qualification will also be played at home. In total, there are twenty-four teams in this competition and it has the potential to be a really big affair with the schedules stretching over two months.
The format of the EUROPA LEAGUE has changed somewhat since the introduction of the Super League in 1992. The top four teams from each league have been invited to join the competition whereas the previous qualifying rounds required only third and second place finishers to qualify. The changes have increased the popularity of the tournaments as more top four teams can be knocked out of the competition and the chance for great teams to progress to the knockout stages increases. The latest draws have resulted in a lot of interesting matches including the meetings between AC Milan and Celtic, Zenit St Petersburg and Viktoria Lovani and Inter Milan.
The knockout phase of the EUROPA LEAGUE is due to begin in just over a week’s time with the first matches taking place in Bordeaux on Tuesday 5th of April. A number of fixtures take place during this period with some of the highest rated players in Europe, facing off against the best competition in Europe. With the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Ajax, Leverkusen, Besiktas, FC Copenhagen and CSKA Moscow among the visitors, there is sure to be action as the season enters its final chapter. The winners of the Champions League play-offs will be announced later in the summer.