All you need to know: 2018/19 UEFA Europa League

The 2018/19 edition kicks off on 28 June and ends in Baku on 29 May 2019. Get the lowdown on the who, what, where and when.

©Getty Images

When does it start?

The new season kicks off on 28 June – 43 days after Atlético Madrid won the UEFA Europa League for the third time in Lyon – with the first legs of the new preliminary round (draw 12 June). Three further qualifying rounds follow before the play-offs at the end of August confirm the group stage line-up. That phase begins on 20 September and runs every two or three weeks until 13 December. The knockout stages start on 14 February, with the season culminating in Baku on 29 May.

How does qualifying work?

The competition's branding has had a refresh
The competition's branding has had a refresh©UEFA.com

Seventeen of the 48 teams that will contest the 2018/19 group stage are confirmed. They will be joined in August by the 21 play-off winners as well as the ten teams eliminated in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and play-offs. There are two UEFA Europa League qualifying paths:

  • Champions path – This route consists of teams eliminated in the UEFA Champions League champions path between the preliminary round and the third qualifying round. Eight teams will reach the group stage by this route.
  • Main path – This route consists of the remaining UEFA Europa League entrants from all 55 associations plus teams eliminated from the UEFA Champions League league path second qualifying round. Thirteen teams will reach the group stage by this route.

THE QUALIFYING SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Who are the 17 teams already in the group stage?*

Can Arsenal's Unai Emery win the trophy again?
Can Arsenal's Unai Emery win the trophy again?©Getty Images

ESP: Villarreal, Real Betis
GER: Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt
ENG: Chelsea, Arsenal
ITA: Lazio, AC Milan
FRA: Marseille, Rennes
RUS: Krasnodar
POR: Sporting
UKR: Vorskla
BEL: Anderlecht
TUR: Akhisar Belediyespor
CZE: Jablonec
SUI: Zürich

When are the draws?

Watch highlights of Atlético's 2018 final win
Watch highlights of Atlético's 2018 final win

12 June: Preliminary round draw (main path), Nyon
19 June: Second qualifying round draw (champions path), Nyon
20 June: First & second qualifying round draws (main path), Nyon
23 July: Third qualifying round draw, Nyon
6 August: Play-off round draw, Nyon
31 August: Group stage draw, Monaco
17 December: Round of 32 draw, Nyon
22 February: Round of 16 draw, Nyon
15 March: Quarter-final and semi-final draws, Nyon

Are the group stage seedings known?

This year's competition concludes in Baku
This year's competition concludes in Baku©UEFA.com

No. The 48 entrants are split into four seeding pots based on their club coefficients, with each of the eventual 12 groups to contain one team from each seeding tier. It will not be possible to calculate the makeup of these seeding pots until the conclusion of the play-off round. No team can play a club from their own association, with the exact draw procedure confirmed before the ceremony.

Where is the final?

The Olympic Stadium in Baku will stage the final on 29 May 2019. It is the first major club final to be staged in the Azerbaijani capital, though the stadium hosted games at the 2016 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, including a competition-record 33,000 crowd for Azerbaijan's opening game against Poland.

*All information and teams subject to final approval from UEFA.

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