With qualification to the knockout stages of the 2019/20 Europa League secured by Wolves in the 3-3 draw with Braga on Matchday 5, supporters will now be looking ahead at the round of 32 to see where the next stop on the gold and black European tour will be. Here are five things to know ahead of Matchday 6.
Here are five things to know regarding this season's Europa League permutations ahead of Monday's round of 32 draw.
1. PLACES UP FOR GRABS
With the final round of group games to take place on Thursday night, 12 sides have joined Nuno Espirito Santo’s men in already confirming their place in the next stage of the competition but 11 further teams currently taking part in the group stages of the competition are yet to secure their spot in the knockouts.
With 32 teams making up the second round of this season’s Europa League, there will be eight spots remaining following the group stages, these will go to the eight UEFA Champions League teams which finish in third-place in their respective groups.
2. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DROP OUTS
Some of Europe’s biggest names could be among those third-ranked teams which will drop down from the Champions League and into the Europa League draw. When they do, the highest ranked four of those eight teams will be seeded, and four will be unseeded.
At the time of writing, teams who could face the prospect of falling into the Europa League include Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Lyon, Valencia and Zenit Saint Petersburg.
3. THOSE ALREADY QUALIFIED
Wolves are among the 13 teams that already have their names in Monday’s round of 32 draw, but their position in the draw is yet to be determined – as it is for eight of the other qualified teams.
The only sides guaranteed their spot in the seeded pot in the draw are Sevilla, Celtic and Espanyol who have already qualified as the top teams in Group A, E and H respectively. While Cypriot side APOEL have confirmed their place as runners-up in Group A behind Sevilla and will be in the unseeded half of the draw.
The remaining nine teams who will definitely feature in the draw are AZ Alkmaar (currently 2nd in Group L), Basel (1st in Group C), Braga (1st in Group K), Gent (1st in Group I), LASK (2nd in Group D), Manchester United (1st in Group L), Sporting CP (1st in Group D), Wolfsburg (2nd in Group I) and Wolves (2nd in Group K).
4. WHO WOLVES COULD FACE
If Nuno’s side were to beat Besiktas on Thursday night and Braga were unable to take three points against Slovan Bratislava, Wolves will finish top of Group K. They would then be seeded for the last 32 draw and could face any of the teams which finished as runners-up in the Europa League groups, as well as the four lowest ranked Champions League third-place sides.
However, if Wolves were to finish as runners-up in the group, they could be drawn against the 12 Europa League group winners and the highest ranked four sides that drop out of the Champions League.
There are a couple of teams Wolves would not be drawn against in the next round as no team can play a club from their Europa League group or a side from the same national association – meaning Wolves will definitely not be allowed to face fixtures against Braga or Manchester United, as well as Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool should they also find themselves in the draw.
5. THE DRAW PROCEDURE
The draw will take place at 12pm (UK time) on Monday 16th December live from UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The 32 teams will be split into two pots, with the 12 Europa League group winners and the four highest third-ranked teams from the Champions League group stage all placed into a seeded pot and the other 16 teams in the unseeded pot. The draw will eventually see all seeded teams pitched against an unseeded team.
The first legs of the last 32 ties will take place on Thursday 20th February where the unseeded teams will be at home, before the second legs on Thursday 27th February at the home stadium of the seeded teams.