The draw for the 2020/21 Europa League group stage has been made, and boy was it a good one.
It’s been just over a month since the 2019/20 campaign ended but we are back already, preparing for the new edition, and the road to the final in Poland.
The draw also saw the three Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur find out their fates, looking to bring the Europa League back to England for the third time in five years. Also involved in the draw were two Scottish sides in Celtic and Rangers.
Who awaits British quintet? Five things to know…
- Leicester City: Braga, AEK Athens, Zorya Luhansk (Group G)
- Arsenal: Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk (Group B)
- Tottenham Hotspur: Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp (Group J)
- Celtic: Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille (Group H)
- Rangers: Benfica, Standard Liege, Lech Posnan (Group D)
FA Cup winners Arsenal were the first English team out of the hat and were placed in Group B. They were joined by two time European Cup Winners’ Cup runners-up Rapid Vienna, Molde, who were knocked out of Champions League qualifying at the final hurdle, and Irish side Dundalk.
Tottenham Hotspur, who had to go through three qualifying matches before reaching the group stages were rewarded for their travels with a spot in Group J alongside Europa League regulars Ludogorets, LASK and Royal Antwerp.
Back in Europe after their fifth-placed finish last season, Leicester were drawn in Group B, joining Braga, Greek side AEK Athens and Zorya Luhansk.
Scottish champions Celtic were handed the toughest group of the British sides and arguably the hardest overall. After dropping out of Champions League qualifying, Celtic were put in Group H and joined by Sparta Prague, seven-time European Cup winners AC Milan and Lille.
Finally, Rangers also have a tricky task in Group D alongside Portuguese giants Benfica, 10-time Belgian champions Standard Liege and Lech Posnan.
Elsewhere, Napoli and Real Sociedad were drawn together in Group F alongside AZ Alkmaar and HNK Rijeka, while Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Nice make up an interesting prospect in Group C.
2020/21 Europa League group stage draw in full:
Group A: Roma, Young Boys, Cluj, CSKA Sofia.
Group B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk.
Group C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Nice.
Group D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Posnan.
Group E: PSV, PAOK, Granada, Omonoia.
Group F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar, HNK Rijeka.
Group G: Braga, Leicester City, AEK Athens, Zorya Luhansk.
Group H: Celtic, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille.
Group I: Villarreal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor.
Group J: Tottenham, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp.
Group K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberger.
Group L: Gent, Red Star Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec.
When will the group stage fixtures be played?
The delayed start to the 2020/21 campaign means the Europa League group stage fixtures are slightly more condensed. However, it has made for a feast of Europa League football, with two blocks of three consecutive weeks for the group stage.
Matchday 1: 22 October
Matchday 2: 29 October
Matchday 3: 05 November
Matchday 4: 26 November
Matchday 5: 03 December
Matchday 6: 10 December