Follow live as two Premier League clubs and the Old Firm learn their opponents for the group stage of this year’s tournament
Follow live coverage of the 2021/22 Europa League group-stage draw this morning.
Last year’s winners Villarreal beat Manchester United in the final, with both clubs now in the Champions League this season. Celtic edged into the draw last night with a win over AZ Alkmaar 3-2 on aggregate in the play-offs – despite losing 2-1 on the night in the Netherlands. While Covid-hit Rangers ground out a goalless draw against 10-man Alashkert to join their Old Firm rivals in the hat.
After the intrigue of the Champions League draw yesterday, with Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Manchester United learning their opponents, the British quartet will be keen to map out their route to Seville in 2022.
The Foxes under Brendan Rodgers are the competition’s favourites, before the third-placed teams in the Champions League group stage drop down.
While West Ham are fourth favourites with the bookies, behind Napoli and Lazio. Other big names in today’s draw include Lyon, Real Sociedad, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Real Betis and Marseille.
Leicester are in pot 2 with Rangers and Celtic, while West Ham are in pot 3, that means all of those sides can draw the likes of Napli, Lazio, Lyon and Bayer Leverkusen, who are in pot 1.
Follow all the group stage details, live reaction and analysis from Istanbul:
OK, we’re ready, everybody is in place…
The 32 teams are allocated into four pots. It’s divided into co-efficient order, clubs from the same association must be paired to split kick-off times. The eight groups will be split by colours: A-D is red, E-H is blue.
Gerard Moreno wins Europa League Player of the Year
Gerard Moreno: “Thank you, I would have loved to accept in person, but as you know due to the Covid restrictions I can’t. Last season was historic for Villareal, as they won their first European title in their history.
“Thank you to everybody who voted. To the club and the fans, thank you for the support, I’m very excited to receive this award, it’s very important to me.”
The draw is upon us, hold tight Leicester, West Ham, Rangers and Celtic fans.
The journey to Seville begins here…
Falcao awaits for British quartet in pot 4
Radamel Falcao will be back in the Europa League with Galatasaray.
The Colombian was hugely successful in the competition with Porto and Atletico Madrid.
He is the second all-time scorer (30) in the Uefa and Europa League, one behind Henrik Larsson (31).
Leicester ideal and nightmare scenarios
Nightmare scenario: Napoli, Marseille, Rapid Wien
Ideal scenario: Braga, Sparta Praha, Antwerp
West Ham ideal and nightmare scenarios
Nightmare scenario: Napoli, Frankfurt, Galatasaray
Ideal scenario: Braga, Genk, Brondby
Gibraltar gets first team into European group stage
Gibraltar will have a team in the group stage of a European competition for the first time Gibraltar will have a team in the group stage of a European competition for the first time after semi-professional club Lincoln Red Imps reached the third-tier Europa Conference League on Thursday. Lincoln won 3-1 after extra time at the national stadium in its playoff against visiting Riga of Latvia to go through 4-2 on aggregate. In Friday’s group-stage draw, Lincoln will line up with former European champion Feyenoord plus Tottenham and Roma, both former beaten finalists in the European Cup or Champions League. Lincoln can expect to earn at least 3 million euros ($3.5 million) in UEFA prize money for reaching the group stage. More can be earned from results bonuses. The 32-team draw in the inaugural competition is being made in Istanbul, Turkey. Teams from Gibraltar — a British territory of about 33,000 people — have been able to qualify for European competitions since 2014. They have lifted the national ranking to No. 49 of UEFA’s 55 member federations for collective results in club competitions. No. 51-ranked Estonia will also be involved in the Europa Conference League, which UEFA created to keep lower-ranked nations involved in its competitions beyond August when the qualifying rounds end. Flora Tallinn earned its group-stage place by beating Shamrock Rovers of Ireland 5-2 on aggregate. Both Lincoln and Flora were eliminated from the Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds before landing in the new competition.
Scales tipped to be a big success at Celtic by Postecoglou
Celtic have agreed a deal to sign defender Liam Scales from Shamrock Rovers.
The 23-year-old will join Celtic after Rovers missed out on a place in the Europa League group stage following defeat by Flora Tallinn on Thursday night.
Celtic say Scales will sign a four-year contract.
Manager Ange Postecoglou said: “Liam is a young player who has impressed us and is someone who we think has the potential to have a big future at Celtic. He is an athletic defender who has the ability to play in a number of positions.
“As I have said before, everyone at the club has been working hard to add depth and quality to our squad and in signing Liam I think again we have made good progress. We all look forward to welcoming Liam to Celtic and to start working with him.”
Former Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender Scales has made more than 50 appearances for Shamrock Rovers after moving from UCD in 2020.
Europa League draw pots
Leicester City in Europe again
Leicester have been in Europe much more recently than West Ham, with a trip to the round of 32 last season.
Slavia Prague beat the Foxes 2-0 on aggregate after Rodgers’ side advanced from Group G, which included Braga, AEK Athens and Zorya Luhansk.
The Foxes were in the Champions League four years ago of course, following their Premier League title the previous season.
Despite beating Sevilla in the Round of 16, Leicester exited the competition in the quarter-finals thanks to Atletico Madrid, with the Spaniards advancing 2-1 on aggregate.