After going into hibernation for the winter, our Europa League campaign will return next month and we’ll find out our last-16 opponents on Friday.
After finishing top of a group containing PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich, we’ll now enter the knockout stages and could potentially face some of European football’s stellar names between now and the final on June 1.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the draw:
When is the draw taking place?
The ceremony will begin at 11am UK time on Friday, February 24, at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyom, Switzerland. UEFA have said the draw can be viewed live on their website at that time.
Who is left in the competition?
The draw will feature 16 teams. The following eight will definitely be involved as they skipped the play-off round by virtue of winning their Europa League groups:
- Real Betis
- Real Sociedad
- Union Saint-Gilloise
Eight of the following 16 teams will also be included, should they advance from the play-off round on Thursday night:
- Union Berlin
- Manchester United
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- Sporting Lisbon
Who could we face?
The group winners are the seeded teams in the draw, which means we won’t face any of the other seven. Teams from the same country also cannot be drawn against each other, meaning we won’t face Manchester United.
How did the play-off round go?
After a 3-0 home win in the first leg, Sevilla clung on to book a spot in the last-16 despite losing 2-0 to a spirited PSV Eindhoven, while Manchester United overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit to win 2-1 against Barcelona at Old Trafford and go through 4-3 on aggregate.
An Angel di Maria hat-trick ensured Juventus safely got past Nantes, while a comfortable 4-0 success saw Sporting Lisbon cruise past Midtjylland despite drawing 1-1 at home a week earlier.
Roma overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to win 2-0 at home to Red Bull Salzburg, while Union Berlin won 3-1 against Ajax after a goalless meeting in Amsterdam seven days before.
Two ties went all the way to penalties. A thriller between Monaco and Bayern Leverkusen finished in a 3-2 away win for the German side, who then prevailed on spot-kicks. Meanwhile, despite losing 2-1 in Rennes, an own goal in the final minute of extra time gave Shakhtar Donetsk a lifeline by levelling the aggregate score, which they took by winning the shootout.
When and when will the last-16 take place?
The first leg will place on Thursday, March 9, which will see us travel to our opponents. As a bonus for winning the group, the second leg will be played in front of our own supporters on Thursday, March 16.
What happens if we get through?
The draw for the quarter-finals, as well as the semi-finals, will take place on Friday, March 17. There will be no seeding, meaning we can be drawn against any team remaining in the competition, including one from the same nation. A draw will also be made to determine who plays at home in the second leg.
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