The Europa League is the secondary tournament to the prestigious Champions League. Formerly known as the Fairs Cup and UEFA Cup, teams from all over Europe will be competing in both group and knock-out stages. This year sees a new format for the Europa League due to the introduction of the Europa Conference League.
There will only be two qualifying rounds played and rather than 12 groups of four, there will be eight groups of four this season. The group winners will automatically go into the last 16 (previously it was the last 32). The eight runners-up will go into the knockout play-off round alongside the eight third placed sides in the Champions League groups.
It may be seen as a lesser tournament and the top teams do tend to play weakened sides. However, the importance of this competition cannot be denied. It's amazing how club managers show added interest in the latter stages. Why? Well, the winners of this competition gain a place in next season's Champions League and that could be worth millions of pounds to their club. However, with teams needing to win their group to get into the last 16, then perhaps some stronger line-ups will be played. The chance to avoid two games in the play-off round will be an incentive.
There have been some big winners of the Europa League in recent years, though quite often it's just a Spanish side. They have won three of the last four Europa Leagues, including the last two. Vlllarreal are the holders but can only retain their title if finishing third in their Champions League group.
The final this year will be held in Seville on May 18, 2022. Our team of betting experts will guide you through this competition. They will be writing previews for the top games and this page will be updated throughout the competition with the latest news and odds.
Qualifying rounds - August 5/12 and August 19/26
Groups - September 16 to December 9
Knockout Stage Play-off Round - February 17/24
Last 16 - March 10/17
Last 8 - April 7/14
Semi-Finals - April 28 and May 5
Final - Seville May 18
12 teams have already secured their places in the group stages of the Europa League. These are:
Germany - Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen
Spain - Real Sociedad and Real Betis
England - Leicester City and West Ham United
Italy - Napoli and Lazio
France - Lyon and Marseille
Portugal - Braga
Russia - Lokomotiv Moscow
Statistics can tell you a lot about what might happen in a football game. It can give you vital information about which teams are in form, who is scoring lots of goals, who is struggling to get on the scoresheet and how teams are getting on at home and away. Here are ten key statistics from the 2020/21 Europa League. Look out for an updated version when the groups are confirmed.
This isn't the easiest of competitions to predict. There are several factors that have to be taken into consideration. There's the fact that teams tend to play weakened sides in the Europa League. Choosing to bet on lubs that have strong squads and a light injury list is a good suggestion. Always keep an eye out for the team news before you place a bet on the Europa League. That's especially the case in second leg ties in the knock-out rounds after big first leg victories.
There are some top teams in this competition. England are represented by Leicester City and West Ham United. From Spain, we have Real Betis and Real Sociedad so perhaps another Spanish triumph isn't likely. The 2020/21 Europa League winners could well come from Italy. They are represented by Lazio and Napoli. Then there are the teams that come into the competition from the Champions League. Atletico Madrid did that in 2017/18 and won the Europa League. Our advice is to bet on the outright winner when the knockout stages are reached. Ensure that you read the expert views of our tipsters. They will help you make your decison with their excellent and well-researched opinions on the upcoming games.