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UEFA Europa Conference League: What to look out for on Matchday 6

The first UEFA Europa Conference League group stage is concluding; what will be the headlines on Thursday night?

Slavia's Alexander Bah, Union's Taiwo Awoniyi and Partizan's Ricardo Gomes
Slavia's Alexander Bah, Union's Taiwo Awoniyi and Partizan's Ricardo Gomes

None of the big sides in the UEFA Europa Conference League have had it all their own way in the maiden group stage campaign, which is delivering tension until the final night.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car presents UEFA.com's guide to the stand-out stories.

How qualifying for the knockouts works

The eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16. Additional knockout round play-offs between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams from the UEFA Europa League groups will then be played before the round of 16.

Thursday 9 December

Group A: Alashkert vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv, LASK vs HJK Helsinki
Group B: Gent vs Flora Tallinn, Partizan vs Anorthosis Famagusta
Group C: CSKA-Sofia vs Roma, Zorya Luhansk vs Bodø/Glimt
Group D: CFR Cluj vs Jablonec, AZ Alkmaar vs Randers
Group E: Feyenoord vs Maccabi Haifa, Union Berlin vs Slavia Praha
Group F: Copenhagen vs Slovan Bratislava, PAOK vs Lincoln Red Imps
Group G: Tottenham vs Rennes, Vitesse vs Mura
Group H: Omonoia vs Kairat Almaty, Basel vs Qarabağ

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What to look out for?

Union up for Slavia 'final'

Highlights: Slavia Praha 3-1 Union Berlin

Competing in their first UEFA group stage, Union Berlin had a tough start at Slavia Praha, a red card and two late goals contributing to a 3-1 loss on Matchday 1. However, a 1-0 win at Maccabi Haifa last time out has set up Urs Fischer’s men for a dramatic rematch with the Czech champions. Beat them in Berlin, and Union will make it through at Slavia’s expense.

The manner of Union’s triumph over Maccabi Haifa was not exactly impressive, and their last Group E home game ended with two dismissals and a 2-1 loss to section-toppers Feyenoord, but Fischer prefers to focus on fact rather than performances after his charges got the win they needed in Israel: "We did it – and now we have this final at home."

Partizan on edge, PAOK racing Slovan

Highlights: Anorthosis 0-2 Partizan

Gent are safe as Group B winners, but Partizan’s grip on second place is less tight than they might have hoped as they welcome Anorthosis Famagusta in their final fixture. The Cypriot side could steal that runners-up slot with a win in Belgrade, and Flora – currently bottom of the standings – also have a chance of stealing through on the inside rail should they overwhelm Gent.

There will be anxious looks in Group F on the final day too, as Slovan and PAOK vie for second position. Already qualified, Copenhagen welcome the Slovak team, who are second in the section ahead of Salonika-based PAOK by the narrowest of goal-difference margins. Should Răzvan Lucescu’s side win big at home to Lincoln Red Imps, a Slovan success might not be enough.

Further ahead?

Highlights: Rennes 3-3 Vitesse

• A summer signing from Montpellier, Rennes' Gaëtan Laborde has been the pick of the UEFA Europa Conference League marksmen so far, his five goals leaving him one clear of Spurs’ Kane and Roma’s Tammy Abraham among others. Will he still be in the running for the top scorer gong come the end of the campaign?

The draw for the knockout round play-offs takes place on 13 December with the eight UEFA Europa Conference League runners-up being paired with the eight third-placed sides from the UEFA Europa League. The winners of those two-legged ties will join the eight UEFA Europa Conference League group stage winners in the round of 16 draw on 25 February.

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Key dates

Tirana's National Arena will stage the final
Tirana's National Arena will stage the finalUEFA via Getty Images

Knockout stage
13 December: Knockout round play-off draw
17 & 24 February: Knockout round play-offs
25 February: Round of 16 draw
10 & 17 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
7 & 14 April: Quarter-finals
28 April & 5 May: Semi-finals
25 May: Final (National Arena, Tirana)

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