The 2021/22 Europa League group stage reached its conclusion on Thursday night and we now know who will be in the pots for the play-offs draw.
Villarreal are the defending champions, but naturally they are playing in the Champions League as reward for their glory. And they made it to the competition’s knockout rounds, sneaking in ahead of Atalanta, who have dropped down to the Europa League.
The Italian club are one of a handful of heavyweight clubs to suffer demotion to the Champions League’s sister competition. Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Sevilla and RB Leipzig all failed to make it out of the groups and will therefore partake in the Europa League. Fellow Champions League dropouts Sheriff and Zenit join them in the pots.
The 2021/22 season also sees a big change to the Europa League thanks, in part to the creation of the Europa Conference League. The Europa League has now been streamlined to include 32 teams, like the Champions League, with the third-placed teams dropping to the Europa Conference League.
But things also changed with qualification for the Europa League knockout stages. Now, the group winners will go straight to the last 16 while the eight runners-up are drawn against the Champions League dropouts in the knockout play-off round.
When is the 2021/22 Europa League knockout round play-off draw?
The 2021/22 Europa League knockout round play-off draw is scheduled to take place on Monday 13 December 2021, with a start time of 12pm GMT (following on from the Champions League last 16 draw). As always, the draw will be hosted by the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.
Once the draw is made, the knockout round play-off is scheduled for dates in February, with the first legs taking place on Thursday 17 February and the return fixtures one week later on Thursday 24 February.
How will the 2021/22 Europa League knockout round play-off draw work?
The knockout round play-off draw involves 16 teams, which is why is technically isn’t the Round of 32 we all grew to know and love. As mentioned, the round will feature the eight runners-up from the Europa League group stage and the eight third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage.
The 16 teams will be split into two points with the eight runners-up being seeded and the eight Champions League dropouts unseeded.
As always, no team can be drawn against a club from their own association, while the Europa League group stage runners-up will play the return legs at home. However, bear in mind that the away goals rule was scrapped ahead of the 2021/22 Europa League campaign.
Who has qualified for the 2021/22 Europa League knockout round play-off?
Europa League knockout play-off round
|1. Zenit (UCL)||Russia|
|2. Real Betis (UEL)||Spain|
|3. Rangers (UEL)||Scotland|
|4. Borussia Dortmund (UCL)||Germany|
|5. RB Leipzig (UCL)||Germany|
|6. Porto (UCL)||Portugal|
|7. Sheriff (UCL)||Moldova|
|8. Barcelona (UCL)||Spain|
|9. Sevilla (UCL)||Spain|
|10. Real Sociedad (UEL)
|11. Napoli (UEL)||Italy|
|12. Olympiakos (UEL)||Greece|
|13. Dinamo Zagreb (UEL)
|14. Braga (UEL)||Portugal|
|15. Lazio (UEL)||Italy|
|16. Atalanta (UCL)||Italy|
When is the 2021/22 Europa League last 16 draw?
The 2021/22 Europa League knockout round play-off draw is scheduled to take place on Friday 25 February 2022, with a start time of 12pm GMT. As always, the draw will be hosted by the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.
Once the draw is made, the last 16 is scheduled for dates in March, with the first legs taking place on Thursday 10 March and the return fixtures one week later on Thursday 17 February.
How will the 2021/22 Europa League last 16 draw work?
Being the second round of Europa League knockout football, there is expected to be no seeding or country protection for the last 16 draw.
That means the Europa League group winners could face their runners-up or even a team from their own association, depending on what happens in the knockout play-off round.
Who has qualified for the 2021/22 Europa League last 16?
Europa League last 16
|2. West Ham United||England|
|4. Bayer Leverkusen||Germany|
|5. Spartak Moscow||Russia|
|6. Eintracht Frankfurt
|7. Red Star Belgrade