Good morrow one and all and welcome to
another fascinating night of Europa League behaviour. I’m afraid, though, that our opening task must be to deal with some housekeeping, so please bear with me.
the real football factories
This season, there is no
last 32. Rather, the eight group winners proceed to the
last 16, while the eight runners-up meet one of the eight third-placed Champions League rejects in a two-legged playoff, the winners of each to move on. I don’t suppose it’s very fair, but then it wasn’t already, and this should give us greater DRAMA, NARRATIVE and MONEYMONEYMONEYMONEYMONEYMONEY, so here we are.
Lyon are currently the only side in the competition certain to top their section. In order to take second, Rangers – under new manager Giovani van Bronckhorst – must better Sparta Prague’s performance – they lost the first encounter between the teams 1-0 – and finish above Brondby, who, they currently lead by two points.
Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm (all times GMT): Brondby v Lyon, Rangers v Sparta Prague
Monaco, Sociedad and PSV, on 8, 6 and 5 points respectively, are all in contention for the top two spots. Sturm Graz are out.
Tonight’s fixtures: 8pm: PSV v Sturm Graz, Monaco v Real Sociedad
All four teams can still move on. Spartak beat Napoli last night and with both teams on 7 points, top the group on head to head.
Tonight’s fixture, 8pm: Leicester v Legia Warsaw
Frankfurt, on 10 points, are guaranteed a playoff spot and will win the group of they beat Antwerp, who are out. Olympiakos and Fenerbahce, on 6 and 5 respectively, are both still in contention.
Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm: Olympiakos v Fenerbahce, Eintracht Frankfurt v Antwerp
All four teams can still qualify. Galatasaray top the group on 8 points and can eliminate Marseille, on 4 points, by beating them. Lokomotiv, on 2 points, must beat Lazio, on 5 points, to retain the chance of making the playoffs.
Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Lokomotiv Moscow v Lazio, Galatasaray v Marseille
Braga, top on 9 points, can guarantee a playoff place by beating Midtjylland, on 5 points, and if Crvena zvezda, on 7 points, fail match their result, they’ll secure top spot. If both win, Midtjylland are out; Ludogorets are already out.
Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Crvena zvezda v Ludogorets, Midtjylland v Braga
Leverkusen, on 10 points, will secure top spot with a win over Celtic, on 6 points, and if Betis, on 7 points, win and and Celtic don’t, Celtic are out. Ferencvaros, on 0 points, are gone.
Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Real Betis v Ferencvaros, Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic
West Ham, on 10 points, are guaranteed a playoff spot, and one win from their final two games will see them finish top. Zagreb, on 6 points, Genk, on 4 points, and Rapid, on 3 points, all remain in contention.
Tonight’s fixture, 5.45pm: Rapid Wien v West Ham, Dinamo Zagreb v Genk
Oh yeah, and the Conference League is also happening. Spurs, on 7 points, are second in their group behind Rennes, on 10 points, and are away to Mura, on 0 points, at 5.45pm; behind them sit Vitesse, on 6 points.
I’m off for a lie-down.