The qualification period is over and now, it’s time to get back down to business with the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. As reported by BBC and UEFA the official draws have now been made, and as such, we feel as if it’s time to run through the draw and give our thoughts on the groups and who could progress.
Group A: Sevilla, Apoel Nicosia, Qarabag, F91 Dudelange
As multi-time champions of the competition, we can’t look past Sevilla making another run deep into the latter stages of the Europa League this year. The second spot in the group is wide open with Qarabag being less than convincing, whereas APOEL and Dudelange could cause some issues.
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano
You’d expect Dynamo Kiev to make their way through, but again, second spot is there for the taking. We’d back Copenhagen due to their experience at this level, but Malmo have a few game changers within their ranks.
Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor
Trabzonspor and Krasnodar will benefit from the fact that they are tough places to go to in order to play, but aside from that, we can’t picture them making all too much of an impact. Basel and Getafe are too good and should be progressing here.
Group D: Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, Lask
The seeding seems to be pretty accurate here, with Sporting being the perfect ‘make it into the knockouts then not much further’ roles.
Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, Cluj
This is arguably the most exciting group in the whole competition. Celtic and Cluj will engage in a rematch that was surprisingly won by the Romanians in the Champions League, Rennes are incredibly strong for a third pot team, and Lazio are full of quality. This is anyone’s ball game, but we’re going to call it for Lazio and Rennes.
Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria
Last year’s runners-up Arsenal should walk to the knockout stage with a group like this, with the only major difficulty for them being a very game Frankfurt side.
Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers
Rangers may not be the best team in world football, but they’re going to give all three of these sides a run for their money. We’re going to back them to upset the odds and progress with Porto.
Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, Ferencvaros
We think Espanyol will win this group despite their seeding, with CSKA Moscow barely being able to scrape through just behind them.
Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, Olexandriya
Saint-Etienne have the chance to prove that they’re as good as some pundits say they are, and we think they’ll take that chance with both hands. Wolfsburg shouldn’t have too many issues, but we’re interested in what the Ukranian newcomers have to offer.
Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberger AC
Roma and Monchengladbach shouldn’t have any real issues with progressing into the next round here, regardless of how difficult it is to play in Istanbul.
Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Slovan Bratislava, Wolves
This is a great opportunity for Wolves to prove themselves to the rest of Europe in a group that’s really winnable for them. We think it’ll be a two-way tussle between them and Besiktas, with Braga and Bratislava putting in a number of spirited performances along the way.
Group L: Manchester United, FC Astana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar
United aren’t going to be happy about how far they have to travel for some of these games, but the important thing is that the group isn’t too difficult. We’re backing them to win it with Partizan Belgrade edging out AZ Alkmaar.