There are 48 teams in the competition, divided by 12 groups. In the groups, there are the teams who passed through qualifiers of the Europa League, according to their national league ranking. There are also the ones who dropped from Champions League qualifiers and playoffs.
After the group stage, the top 2 teams of each group with go the knockout stage. Adding to the 24 teams qualified, the remaining 8 will come from the Champions League 3rd placed teams, in the group stage.
The first round has 32 teams, the second has 16, the third has 8, the following has 4, until the final with 2 teams.
The final of the Europa League will be held in 2020 in Poland, in the Arena Gdansk on the 27th of May. The winner will play the UEFA SuperCup 2020, in Estadio do Dragao (Porto, Portugal), against the Europa League winner.
What is the Europa League?
Although many soccer fans around the world only know the Champions League, UEFA has actually two major competitions for clubs during the season. The Europa League, although being the lower division, is the stage of great games and amazing goals every year.
Since the teams are more balanced in the Europa League, the chances to see a surprising winner are more than in the Champions League. Besides, the winner also gets a spot in the next year’s Champions League group stage, automatically in pot 1, avoiding all the major opponents.
The competition is actually quite old, being named Inter-Cities Fairs Cup between 1955 and 1971. The idea was to create a tournament to promote trade fairs, this way promoting commerce and the sport at the same time.
In 1972, the competition grew so much that UEFA took charge of it and it became UEFA Cup. It was rebranded Europa League in 2009 and the competition continues to be a major motivation for smaller teams around the continent to be able to compete against the elite.
The current holders are Chelsea, who beat fellow London side Arsenal in May (4-1).
Here are the groups:
Who is the team with more titles in the competition?
The UEFA Europa League started in 1972, as a secondary competition from the traditional Champions League. Its original name was UEFA Cup, but it changed in 2009 to be rebranded Europa League. Shakhtar Donetsk won the last edition of the named UEFA Cup.
Currently, Spanish side Sevilla FC has won the most titles with 5. They are followed by Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, with 3.
England and Germany are tied as the countries with most winners (5). For England: Tottenham (2), Liverpool (3), Ipswich Town (1), Manchester United (1) and Chelsea (2), the current holders. For Germany: Borussia Monchengladbach (2), Eintracht Frankfurt (1), Bayer Leverkusen (1), Bayern Munich (1) and Schalke 04 (1).
Spain had 4 winners: Real Madrid (2), Sevilla (5), Valencia (1) and Atletico (3). Italy had also 4: Juventus (2), Internazionale (2), Parma (2) and Napoli (1).
Then there is the Netherlands, who saw 3 winners: Feyenoord (2), PSV Eindhoven, and Ajax. Russia had 2 winners: CSKA Moscow in 2005 and Zenit in 2008.
What other countries have won the Europa League? Portugal (Porto, 2 times), Sweden (IFK Gotemburg, 2 times), Belgium (Anderlecht, 1 time), Turkey (Galatasaray, 1 time) and Ukraine (Shaktar Donetsk, 1 time).
Who is the all-time top scorer of Europa League?
According to Statista, since the launch of the competition officially in the 1971/72 season, the top scorer is Celtic Glasgow’s legend Henrik Larsson. The Swedish striker hit the net 40 times, but never actually won this competition.
He was close, in 2003, but he was denied by Jose Mourinho’s Porto, in a final that took extra time and late drama.
Meanwhile, the player with the highest goal ratio per match is Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who currently plays for Galatasaray. He scored 30 goals in the competition, playing for Atletico Madrid and Porto, winning it in consecutive years (2011 for Porto and 2012 for Atletico).
Here are the all-time top-scorers:
(SWE) Henrik Larsson – 40 goals
(NED) Huntelaar – 34 goals *
(COL) Radamel Falcao – 31 goals *
(SPA) Aritz Aduriz – 31 goals *
(GER) Dieter Muller – 29 goals
(GEO) Shota Arveladze – 27 goals
* still in activity
The UEFA Europa League top scorer will be posted here regularly. Stay tuned!
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