Europa League trophy

Who will join us in the Europa League?

Thursday 09 June 2022 10:00

Manchester United know we will take part in the Europa League next season, having finished sixth in the Premier League in 2021/22.

It will be our first participation at the group stage of the competition since 2019 and the format has changed in the intervening years.

With the Europa Conference League now acting as UEFA’s third tournament, the number of teams in the Europa League groups has been cut from 48 to 32.

Group winners now have two fixtures fewer to play, as they receive a bye to the round of 16 – the eight runners-up have to go through two-legged play-offs against the eight eliminated teams from the Champions League.

Twelve sides have already confirmed their participation in the group stage, with four (including United) guaranteed to be in the first pot.

The remaining 20 sides will be determined through qualifiers in July and August, but let’s take a look at who we know is in so far…

Europa League final: Ajax 0 United 2 Video

Europa League final: Ajax 0 United 2

Match Rewind | Watch our successful 2017 Europa League final in full, featuring vital goals by Pogba and Mkhitaryan...



Mikel Arteta’s side narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Champions League as they were pipped to fourth spot by great rivals Tottenham. Competition rules prevent us from meeting the Gunners until at least the quarter-finals.


The Romans clinched a fifth Europa League participation in six years through their Serie A placing. Managed by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, they boast Ciro Immobile in attack – the prolific Italian is Lazio’s all-time leading scorer and won his fourth Capocannoniere award for topping the league scoring charts in 2021/22.


Lazio’s city rivals won the inaugural Conference League under Jose Mourinho, after a narrow 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the final. Roma made it to the semi-final stage of the Europa League in 2021, but lost 8-5 on aggregate to a United side inspired by Edinson Cavani.



Regulars in this competition, the Portuguese side lost to eventual runners-up Rangers in the quarter-finals in April. United played them twice in the 2012/13 Champions League groups, coming from 2-0 down at home to win 3-2, with Javier Hernandez scoring a double.


The Conference League runners-up were already guaranteed Europa League football after finishing third, behind Erik ten Hag’s Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, in the Eredivisie. We played them during the groups in the victorious 2016/17 campaign, losing in the Netherlands but gaining revenge at Old Trafford with a thumping 4-0 victory.


Freiburg have been the surprise package of German football in recent years under Christian Streich and they finished sixth in last season’s Bundesliga. A first-ever major trophy was cruelly denied them, as 10-man RB Leipzig overcame them on penalties in the DFB-Pokal final.

Watch highlights from United's comeback victory over Braga in 2012.


One of two confirmed Europa League debutants so far, the historic club from north-west France qualified by dint of winning the Coupe de France – their first major trophy in 21 years. They have history with United, having played us twice in the Champions League back in 2002.

Real Betis

United are familiar with Betis’ city rivals Sevilla, but we are yet to face the Green and Whites in a competitive game. It’s a third European campaign in five seasons for the Copa del Rey winners, who are managed by Manuel Pellegrini and can call upon talented stars like World Cup-winner Nabil Fekir, Portugal stalwart William Carvalho and the ageless Joaquin.

Real Sociedad

Another opponent from United’s run to the 2021 Europa League final, the San Sebastian outfit lifted the Copa del Rey last year and have a squad capable of making a deep run in the competition. Alexander Isak and Mikel Oyarzabal are the stars, ably assisted by former Manchester City playmaker David Silva.

Highlights: Real Sociedad 0 United 4 Video

Highlights: Real Sociedad 0 United 4

It was a four-midable display from the Reds in the first leg of our last-32 Europa League tie...


The Brittany club have long been renowned for their youth development but the first team has excelled in recent years, regularly finishing in France’s top six and qualifying for Europe. Despite playing Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester since 2018, Rennes are yet to face United in a competitive match.

Union Berlin

Like Nantes, Union Berlin are first-time qualifiers although they did participate in last season’s Conference League. Traditionally a ‘cult’ club, the East Berliners were promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in 2019 and have since established themselves as the German capital’s best-performing team, finishing fifth last season – and missing out on Champions League football by just a point.

The draw for the Europa League group stage will take place on 26 August 2022, with the matches running from 8 September to 3 November.