clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How does the Europa League work?

New, comments

Inter Milan drops into round of 32 draw.

FC Internazionale v PSV - UEFA Champions League Group B
Antonio Candreva (L) of FC Internazionale is challenged by Trent Sainsbury of PSV during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Internazionale and PSV at San Siro Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Following their 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Barcelona, the Nerazzurri were dropped into the round of 32 draw for the Europa League.

They will join fellow Serie A teams Lazio -- who finished second in their Europa League group -- and Napoli -- who finished third in their Champions League group after losing at Liverpool -- in the draw for the knockout stage.

The draw for the last 32 stage will be at Nyon, the UEFA headquarters, on Dec. 17, 2018 and the draw for the round of 16 will be on Feb. 22, 2019.

Here is a look at how the draw will work and who is in for the round of 32.

How it works

The first knockout stage of the Europa League consists of 32 teams, as opposed to the 16 teams in the Champions League.

FC Internazionale v PSV - UEFA Champions League Group B
FC Internazionale coach Luciano Spalletti looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between FC Internazionale and PSV at San Siro Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

There are 24 teams coming out of groups. This will be the group winners and runners-up from each of the 12 original Europa League groups. The remaining eight teams in the draw are the eight third-place teams from each of the Champions League groups who failed to qualify for that tournament’s knockout stage.

Half of the 32 teams are seeded. The 12 Europa League group winners along with the four third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage with the highest point totals are seeded. The remaining 16 teams -- the 12 Europa League group runners-up and the bottom four Champions League third-place teams -- are unseeded.

Seeded teams will be pit against unseeded teams in the round of 32. The seeded team will host the second leg of the round of 32. Teams from the same league cannot face each other in the round of 32 which means Inter will not play either Napoli or Lazio in the round of 32. Since Napoli is seeded, they wouldn’t play each other anyway.

When does the round of 32 start

The first leg of the Europa League round of 32 will be played between Feb. 14-21 and the second leg will be roughly a month later on March 7-14.

Europa League finals

The finals for this year’s Europa League will be played at the Olympic Stadium in the lovely city of Baku, Azerbaijan (yeah, there was some sarcasm there).

The Europa League finals will be played at the same time as the Champions League finals with both winners playing each other in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup later in the year.

What about Inter Milan?

Because they finished with eight points, Inter Milan will be one of the four seeded teams from the Champions League. The other three are Napoli, Valencia and Benfica.

The 12 seeded teams from the Europa League are: Bayer Leverkusen, Red Bull Salzburg, Zenit St. Petersburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal, Real Betis, Villareal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Genk, Sevilla, Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea.

The 16 unseeded teams are: (from the Champions League) Viktoria Plzen, Club Brugge, Shakhtar Donetsk and Galatasaray. From the Europa League: FC Zurich, Celtic, Slavia Praha, Fenerbahce, Sporting CP, Olympiacos, Rapid Wien, Lazio, Malmo, Krasnodar, Rennes and BATE Borisov.

Now, Inter will not be drawn against Lazio because they are both from Serie A. That means their first opponent could be from any of the other 15 teams.


What do you think? Post your comments below!