The long road to the Europa League final will begin for many clubs when the competition’s group-stage draw takes place on Friday.
For others, the journey has already begun in the qualifying rounds that have been played throughout the summer.
The drawing of the 12 groups marks the start of the competition proper, however, and will see a number of high-profile clubs join the party this year.
With a place in next season’s Champions League the prize for the winner, Goal has all the information you all you need to know about the Europa League group-stage draw.
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE DRAW?
|Europa League group stage draw||Friday, August 25||Grimaldi Forum, Monaco|
The draw for the 2017-18 Europa League group stage will take place at 13:00 CEST (12:00 BST / 07:00 ET) on Friday, August 25.
Unlike the draws for previous rounds, which were held in Nyon, Switzerland, the group-stage draw will be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
The Europa League Player of the Season award for 2016-17 will also be presented at the ceremony. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba are the nominees.
WHAT TEAMS ARE IN THE DRAW?
|Real Sociedad||1, 2 or 3|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||1, 2 or 3|
|Hertha BSC||1, 2, 3 or 4|
|Koln||2, 3 or 4|
|Vitoria Guimaraes||2, 3 or 4|
|Atalanta||2, 3 or 4|
|Zulte Waregem||2, 3 or 4|
|Zorya Luhansk||2, 3 or 4|
|Konyaspor||3 or 4|
|Vitesse||3 or 4|
|Fastav Zlin||3 or 4|
The group stage of the Europa League comprises 48 teams, with 16 of them (listed above) entering at this stage. The field is completed by 22 teams progressing from the Europa League play-off round and the 10 teams eliminated in the Champions League play-off round.
Teams are subsequently divided into four pots of 12 teams each, with the 12 groups containing one team from each pot. Each group cannot contain more than one team from the same association.
Each team’s pot is decided by their UEFA club coefficient, which is a score they are given based on their performance in the Champions League and Europa League over the past five seasons as well as the strength of the league they play in.
Of the 16 teams entering directly at the group stage, Arsenal have the highest coefficient (105.192) and Lugano the lowest (6.415).
When does the group stage kick-off?
The first games of the 2017-18 Europa League group stage take place on September 14, and the final matches will be played on December 7.
Last season the majority of games kicked off at either 19:00 CEST/CET (18:00 BST/GMT) or 21:05 CEST/CET (20:05 BST/GMT), with occasional exceptions depending on geography.
WHAT TEAMS ARE IN THE PLAY-OFF ROUND?
Unlike the Champions League, the Europa League play-off round is not split into different sections.
Milan, Athletic Club, Everton and last year’s finalists Ajax are among the biggest sides looking to book their spot in this year’s group stage.
|Team||Agg.||Team||Leg 1||Leg 2|
|Osijek||–||Austria Wien||1-2||Aug 24|
|Krasnodar||–||Red Star Belgrade||3-2||Aug 24|
|Club Brugge||–||AEK Athens||0-0||Aug 24|
|Maritimo||–||Dynamo Kyiv||0-0||Aug 24|
|Panathinaikos||–||Athletic Club||2-3||Aug 24|
|Apollon Limassol||–||Midtjylland||3-2||Aug 24|
|Everton||–||Hajduk Split||2-0||Aug 24|
|Viitorul Constanta||–||Red Bull Salzburg||1-3||Aug 24|
|Rheindorf Altach||–||Maccabi Tel Aviv||0-1||Aug 24|
|BATE Borisov||–||FC Oleksandriya||1-1||Aug 24|
|Dinamo Zagreb||–||Skenderbeu||1-1||Aug 24|
|Ludogorets||–||Suduva Marijampole||2-0||Aug 24|
|Legia Warsaw||–||Sheriff Tiraspol||1-1||Aug 24|
|Viktoria Plzen||–||AEK Larnaca||3-1||Aug 24|
CAN I WATCH THE GROUP-STAGE DRAW?
The Europa League group-stage draw is not currently scheduled to be broadcast live on television in the UK or US, but it can be watched via stream on UEFA.com.
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