UEFA Europa League Games Today
Understanding the UEFA Europa League Schedule
The UEFA Europa League is the second-tier European club competition, behind the Champions League. It’s played annually and features 32 high-level European teams with three separate phases; qualifying, group and knockout. Europa League betting is popular because it’s often the only soccer betting opportunity on Thursdays.
There are 22 automatic qualifiers based on domestic league position, certain domestic cup winners and the winners of last season’s UEFA Conference League; however, there are also 10 group stage places that are contested in two qualifying rounds in August.
The UEFA Europa League season runs from September to May. The group stage is played in September, October, November and December. The knockout stage starts in February, and the final is played in May.
The group stage is played in a round-robin format, with each team playing the other UEFA Europa league teams in their group once home and once away. The top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stage.
The knockout stage is played in a single-elimination format. Teams play each other over two legs, with the aggregate score determining the winner. If the aggregate score is level after two legs, then extra time and penalties are played.
The Europa League features eight four-team groups, denoted by A-H. Groups are contested with a home and away double round-robin vs each other team. Point spreads are usually released a few weeks before matches are due to be played.
At the conclusion of the Group Stage, the top team in each group receives a bye to the Round of 16. Meanwhile, the second-place team in each group advances to the preliminary knockout round to play one of eight teams that finished in third place in the Champions League Group Stage.
The group winners are randomly drawn versus one of the preliminary knockout stage winners in the Round of 16. There are completely random draws before both the quarterfinals and semifinals.
There’s a two-leg format in every knockout round but the final. Teams play both home and away from the preliminary round through the semifinal. The team with the higher score on aggregate at the end of two legs is the winner. If there’s an aggregate draw after the second leg, there are two extra-time periods of 15 minutes each and penalty kicks if still tied at the end of 120 minutes.
The UEFA Europa League final is played before the Champions League final in May at a neutral venue. Europa League winners automatically qualify for the next season’s Champions League Group Stage. Be sure to check the full UEFA Europa League schedule and calendar for all fixtures.