Europa League: Who United can be drawn against
This week, Manchester United will learn which clubs will provide the opposition in this season’s UEFA Europa League group stage. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the draw…
WHEN WILL THE DRAW TAKE PLACE?
The names of the other clubs that United will play in the group stage will be revealed at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Friday 30 August at 13:00 BST.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The group stage will be contested by 48 sides, who will be drawn into 12 groups of four. United cannot be drawn in the same group as Arsenal – the only other English outfit confirmed to be taking part in the competition at this point – as teams belonging to the same football association are not permitted to meet before the knockout stages. All competitors are separated into four pots for the draw, based on their UEFA club coefficients. Each group will contain one side from each pot.
The Stadion Energa Gdansk in Gdansk, Poland will be the venue for the final of this year's competition.
WHICH POT ARE UNITED IN?
United are in pot 1, along with Sevilla, Arsenal, Porto, Roma, Dynamo Kyiv, Besiktas, Basel, Sporting Lisbon and CSKA Moscow. The other names in the pot will be decided later this week, after twenty-one play-off winners join the 17 already qualified. The 10 remaining group-stage places will then be filled by 10 teams who have failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League via the third qualifying round and play-offs. The two clubs in the competition with the highest coefficients will then enter pot 1.
WHO CAN WE PLAY?
We cannot face any of the teams listed above, as they are in our pot, nor can we face Wolves, should they overcome Torino in this week’s play-off second leg. Of the other teams already qualified for the competition, we could face: Getafe (Spain), Lazio (Italy), Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany), Wolfsburg (Germany), Rennes (France), Saint-Etienne (France), FC Olexandriya (Ukraine), Standard Liege (Belgium), Wolfsberger AC (Austria) and FC Lugano (Switzerland). Though, again, some of those teams could become part of pot 1, depending on what happens later in the week.
Arsenal met Chelsea in the final of last year's competition in Baku, and the Gunners join us in pot 1 for this year's group-stage draw.
COULD WE FACE NEW OPPONENTS?
Getafe, Borussia Monchengladbach, Rennes, FC Olexandriya, Standard Liege, Wolfsberger AC and FC Lugano would all be a new experience for United. Borussia Monchengladbach were European heavyweights in the 1970s, winning this competition (then the UEFA Cup) twice, in 1975 and 1979, and they reached the European Cup/Champions League final in 1977, losing 3-1 to Liverpool. But, despite their impressive historical exploits, they are absent from the list of seven German clubs that we’ve met in Europe. Standard Liege, Rennes and FC Lugano are other well known continental clubs that we’ve thus far avoided, despite their involvement in European football dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Getafe, FC Olexandriya and Wolfsberger AC are all relative newcomers, having only competed in European football in the 21st century. However, the list of potential new opponents is likely to swell considerably once we know the identity of the other 31 teams who will make up the rest of the group-stage phase.
THE LAST TIME
The last time United competed in the Europe League was, of course, in 2016/17, when we became only the fifth club in history to have won all three major European trophies, by beating Ajax 2-0 in Solna, just north of Stockholm. It also meant that United had finally completed the set of all major trophies available to them. On the way to the final in Sweden, we faced Feyenoord, Zorya Luhansk, Fenerbahce, Saint-Etienne, Rostov, Anderlecht and Celta Vigo. During the group stage, we won four games and lost twice.
The Reds triumphed the last time they entered this competition, in 2016/17, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
Our first Europa League fixture comes on the Thursday after our Premier League match against Leicester City at Old Trafford (Saturday 14 September), and precedes our trip to West Ham United (Sunday 22 September). Away games at Newcastle United and Norwich City also follow matchdays two and three, respectively, but our final three group-stage games are followed by matches at Old Trafford.
19 September: Matchday one
3 October: Matchday two
24 October: Matchday three
7 November: Matchday four
28 November: Matchday five
12 December: Matchday six
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE DRAW?
Your Official App will be providing live updates from Monaco as they happen. If you haven’t already downloaded the app, click here to do so for free ahead of Friday’s draw.