And the knockout matchups are set. The headline is surely Barcelona, who dropped into the competition from the Champions League facing Napoli, although there are a number of exciting matches including Borussia Dortmund drawing Chelsea and RB Leipzig squaring off against Real Sociedad.
The UEFA Europa League group stage came to a close on Thursday as the field slightly narrowed down from 32 teams to 24 and then Monday at 7 a.m. ET on Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ the draw for the elimination round was determined. This process was slightly different from past seasons. Because of the introduction of the UEFA Europa Conference League, the round of 32 has been eliminated from the format. Instead, the top-two finishers from eight groups (16 teams) join the third-place finishers from the UEFA Champions League (eight teams) make up the field for the knockout stage and then in Monday’s draw from Nyon, Switzerland the matchups between those two groups was determined.
The group winners essentially received a bye in the next round and won’t start their knockout stage journey until the round of 16. They will wait until the matchups determined Monday narrow the field down from 24 to 16 by the end of February.
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Europa League draw results
Sevilla vs. Dinamo Zagreb
Atalanta vs. Olympiacos
RB Leipzig vs. Real Sociedad
Barcelona vs. Napoli
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Real Betis
Borussia Dortmund vs. Rangers
Sheriff vs. Braga
Porto vs. Lazio
What are the draw rules?
The eight UEL group runners-up are seeded, and will be paired against the eight Champions League group third-placed teams, who are unseeded. A team from the seeded pot will be matched up against a team from the unseeded pot. Teams from the same country also cannot be drawn against one another. For instance, Xavi and Barcelona cannot be paired against Spanish sides Real Betis or Real Sociedad — their possible opponents are: Rangers, Napoli, Olympiacos, Lazio, Braga, Dinamo Zagreb. Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund won’t have any limitations as there are no German teams that are seeded. Possible opponents include: Rangers, Real Sociedad, Napoli, Olympiacos, Lazio, Braga, Real Betis, Dinamo Zagreb.
Once teams are drawn, they will meet in two-legged ties — first legs will be played on Feb. 17 and second legs will be on Feb. 24. The away goals rule will no longer be used to decide the ties, which means if tied after two legs, we’ll see extra time and then to a penalty shootout if a winner is not scored. The round of 16 draw will take place a day after the second legs, on Feb. 25 at 7 a.m. ET.
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