UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

What to look out for in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage

This season's competition has plenty of old world glamour, but it is also a platform that enables clubs from 'smaller' nations to thrive.

Michail Antonio and Saïd Benrahma celebrate a West Ham goal in the play-offs
Michail Antonio and Saïd Benrahma celebrate a West Ham goal in the play-offs Getty Images

With the FIFA World Cup kicking off in November, the six UEFA Europa Conference League group stage matchdays are being condensed into just nine weeks this autumn.

In this piece presented by Enterprise, we pick out some key talking points ahead of the most intense campaign yet.

When are the Europa Conference League group stage games being played?

Matchday 1: 8 September 2022
Matchday 2: 15 September 2022
Matchday 3: 6 October 2022
Matchday 4: 13 October 2022
Matchday 5: 27 October 2022
Matchday 6: 3 November 2022

Highlights: West Ham 3-0 Genk

Trophy pedigree galore
The Europa Conference League is a place for emerging talent, but this season also features a number of clubs already steeped in continental glory. In fact, two of the teams in Group B locked horns in a UEFA club competition final 46 years ago, Belgian giants Anderlecht beating West Ham 4-2 in the 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup decider.

The Hammers had lifted the same trophy in 1965 and Anderlecht went on to hoist it again in 1978, the same year they clinched their second UEFA Super Cup. The Brussels outfit then added the UEFA Cup to their collection in 1983 – capping an exciting heyday still fondly remembered by their older fans. As for neutrals of a younger vintage, who can forget Villarreal's stunning Europa League final triumph in 2021, the Group C hopefuls edging Manchester United in an epic penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw in Gdańsk.

Classic Fiorentina goals

Fiorentina aim to take Roma's path
José Mourinho's Roma became the first side to win the Europa Conference League last season, and another Serie A side with a great European pedigree will look to succeed them as Fiorentina line up in Group A alongside İstanbul Başakşehir, Hearts and Latvian champions RFS.

Beaten European Cup finalists in 1957, the Viola won the first edition of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1961, and lost in the decider in the second edition. They then reached the UEFA Cup final in 1990, losing out to Juventus. They have been absent from European competition since 2016/17, but should they make it to the decider this season, they will become the first team to have featured in the finals of all four of UEFA's major club competitions.

Vaduz are the first club from Liechtenstein to reach a major group stage
Vaduz are the first club from Liechtenstein to reach a major group stageAnadolu Agency via Getty Images

New horizons for emerging nations
The 2022/23 competition has old world glamour aplenty, but crucially it is giving opportunities for champions from less prominent footballing nations to enjoy group stage competition. Thus Pyunik from Armenia, Ballkani from Kosovo, Lithuania's Žalgiris Vilnius, Latvia's RFS, the Republic of Ireland's Shamrock Rovers and Slovakia's Slovan Bratislava are in contention, having started the campaign in Champions League qualifying.

More unusual still, Liechtenstein's Vaduz are becoming the first side from the Grand Duchy to feature at this level of a continental competition. With a population of under 40,000, Liechtenstein is the third smallest UEFA nation by population (ahead of San Marino and Gibraltar) and the only one which has no official league system. Liechtenstein qualified for Europe (again) as winners of the Liechtenstein Cup, but play their league football in neighbouring Switzerland.

Where is the 2023 UEFA Europa Conference League final being played?

The Eden Arena in Prague, Czech Republic has been selected to host this season's UEFA Europa Conference League final on 7 June 2023.

The 2013 UEFA Super Cup took place at the Eden Arena, with Bayern defeating Chelsea 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes, and a showpiece game also went the distance two years later in the 2015 U21 EURO final, Sweden seeing off Portugal 4-3 on spot-kicks.