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Europa League set for final-day drama

Published: Wednesday 15 December 2010, 23.58CET
Greek sides AEK Athens FC and Aris Thessaloniki FC, looking to eliminate the holders Club Atlético de Madrid, will be out to follow PAOK FC's lead as the group stage concludes.
Europa League set for final-day drama
Aris are aiming to pip holders Atlético ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 15 December 2010, 23.58CET

Europa League set for final-day drama

Greek sides AEK Athens FC and Aris Thessaloniki FC, looking to eliminate the holders Club Atlético de Madrid, will be out to follow PAOK FC's lead as the group stage concludes.

There are three places in the knockout stages still up for grabs when the UEFA Europa League group stage draws to a close on Thursday.

Twenty-nine of the sides in the round of 32 are already known, including eight that will transfer from the UEFA Champions League and the three clubs who sealed their passage on Wednesday – PAOK FC, Sevilla FC and, in added time, SSC Napoli.

Six teams remain hopeful of joining them in Friday's draw in Nyon, chief among them holders Club Atlético de Madrid, who go into their Group B fixture at Bayer 04 Leverkusen needing Aris Thessaloniki FC to slip up if they are to advance. All the permutations are shown below, along with the teams who have qualified from the six groups played to a finish on Wednesday.

Group A
Manchester City FC and KKS Lech Poznań have both qualified but first place remains up for grabs. City hold a two-point advantage and will seal top spot with victory at third-placed Juventus. If Lech, who visit FC Salzburg, win and City draw, the deciding factor will be goal difference, followed by higher number of goals scored, because the clubs' head-to-head record is identical.

Group B
With Leverkusen assured top spot, the big question is whether defending champions Atlético can escape an early exit when they visit the group winners. Atlético's fate is not in their own hands – they lie third, level on seven points with second-placed Aris, and need to better the result of the Greek team who have beaten them home and away. If that was not enough reason for Atlético to worry, Aris have the advantage of a final fixture at home to bottom-placed Rosenborg BK.

Group C
Sporting Clube de Portugal have first place in the bag but second will be decided by the meeting in northern France between LOSC Lille Métropole and KAA Gent. The visitors hold a two-point advantage so need only draw; for Lille it is win or bust.

Group D
1st: Villarreal CF
2nd: PAOK FC

Group E
1st: FC Dynamo Kyiv
2nd: FC BATE Borisov

Group F
1st: PFC CSKA Moskva
2nd: AC Sparta Praha

Group G
AEK Athens FC will hope to join section winners FC Zenit St Petersburg in the next phase by taking the point they need when they host the Russian outfit. If AEK lose to Zenit, third-placed RSC Anderlecht would leapfrog them with victory over HNK Hajduk Split as the Belgian side hold the head-to-head advantage.

Group H
VfB Stuttgart and BSC Young Boys are through in first and second place respectively going into their final matches.

Group I
PSV Eindhoven and FC Metalist Kharkiv have qualified, and the Dutch club will advance as section winners unless Metalist beat them by three clear goals or achieve a high-scoring two-goal success.

Group J
1st: Paris Saint-Germain FC
2nd: Sevilla FC

Group K
1st: Liverpool FC 
2nd: SSC Napoli

Group L
1st: FC Porto
2nd: Beşiktaş JK

Entrants from the UEFA Champions League
FC Spartak Moskva, SC Braga, AFC Ajax, FC Twente (seeded with group winners); FC Rubin Kazan, FC Basel 1893, Rangers FC, SL Benfica (seeded with group runners-up).

Last updated: 03/01/11 23.58CET

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