The 46th season of Europe’s secondary club football tournament, Europa League, will kick start its new campaign tonight with the opening week itself holding a few potential classics like the cross-border showdown in Ireland between Linfield and Cork City.
Group Stage Preview:
Manchester United will embark on their first ever UEFA Europa League group stage campaign when they face Feyenoord who are currently top of the Eredivisie having won all five of their matches this season. The game also marks the return of Jose Mourinho to the competition for the first time since winning it with Porto in 2003.
Another talking point will be the return of Mario Balotelli to the competition who made an inspiring Ligue 1 debut with two goals—as many as he’s scored over his last two domestic league seasons.
‘Don’t Miss’ Group Stage Matches:
Manchester United vs Fenerbahçe
1st Leg : 20th October 2016 | ?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium
2nd Leg: 3rd November 2016 | Old Trafford
Internazionale vs Southampton
1st Leg : 20th October 2016 | San Siro Stadium
2nd Leg: 3rd November 2016 | St Mary's Stadium
Schalke 04 vs Nice
1st Leg : 15th September 2016 | Allianz Riviera
2nd Leg: 24th November 2016 | Veltins-Arena
The Final Venue:
Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden will host the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League final. The 50,000-capacity stadium which boasts a retractable roof will be holding its first ever UEFA club competition final when the two finalists clash on 24th May 2017.
Europa League 2016/17 Calendar (from Round 16) :
12/12/16: Round of 32 draw, Nyon
16/02/17: Round of 32, first leg
23/02/17: Round of 32, second leg
24/02/17: Round of 16 draw, Nyon
09/03/17: Round of 16, first leg
16/03/17: Round of 16, second leg
17/03/17: Quarter-final draw, Nyon
13/04/17: Quarter-finals, first leg
20/04/17: Quarter-finals, second leg
21/04/17: Semi-final draw, Nyon
04/05/17: Semi-finals, first leg
11/05/17: Semi-finals, second leg
24/05/17: Final (Friends Arena, Solna)
Big Names left out the Europa League squad:
Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is yet to make an appearance under new manager José Mourinho, was omitted from Manchester United’s 27-man squad for the Europa League group stage.
Inter Milan's recent acquisitions, Joao Mario and Gabriel Barbosa, were left out of their squad for the Europa League group stages due to Financial Fair Play regulations.
Betting Odds (the favourites):
Manchester United (6.17), AS Roma (11.0), Internazionale (17.0), Athletic Bilbao(17.67), Fiorentina (18.33)