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

Several sides are going head-to-head for knockout round places; what will be the final twists in the group stage?

Galatasaray's Sofiane Feghouli, Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne and PSV's Mario Götze
Galatasaray's Sofiane Feghouli, Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne and PSV's Mario Götze

Only four teams have confirmed their round of 16 places going into the final matchday of the UEFA Europa League group stage, with some big sides sure to miss out.

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

Who needs what to qualify?

How qualifying for the knockouts works

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

Thursday 9 December
Group A: Sparta Praha vs Brøndby, Lyon vs Rangers
Group B
: Real Sociedad vs PSV Eindhoven, Sturm Graz vs Monaco
Group C
: Legia Warszawa vs Spartak Moskva, Napoli vs Leicester
Group D
: Royal Antwerp vs Olympiacos, Fenerbahçe vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Group E: Lazio vs Galatasaray, Marseille vs Lokomotiv Moskva
Group F
: Ludogorets vs Midtjylland, Braga vs Crvena zvezda
Group G
: Celtic vs Real Betis, Ferencváros vs Leverkusen
Group H: Genk vs Rapid Wien, West Ham vs GNK Dinamo

What to look out for?

Highlights: Leicester 2-2 Napoli
Highlights: Leicester 2-2 Napoli

Four-way struggle for Group C places
Nothing is decided in Group C, where two points separate top from bottom, and all four contenders know a win will take them through. Leicester head the section, but face a tough trip to Napoli. "It's a difficult place to go and it'll be a big occasion," said midfielder James Maddison. "They'll be right up for it, trying to get top spot as well."

Under-strength Napoli lost 2-1 in the snow at Spartak Moskva last time out, a result that keeps the Russian club very much in the hunt as they visit Legia Warszawa, currently bottom of the pool. "We have to believe," concluded the Polish side's boss Marek Gołębiewski.

Highlights: PSV 2-2 Real Sociedad
Highlights: PSV 2-2 Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad out to eliminate PSV
Monaco have won Group B, but Real Sociedad will be out to deny PSV Eindhoven second spot when the teams meet in San Sebastian. The hosts must win to continue their adventure in this competition, but have drawn their last three European games at the Anoeta.

Defender Robin Le Normand hopes that home fans will help La Real to come good, telling UEFA.com: "It’ll be a big help to have them with us when we have to win against PSV." The Dutch side's midfielder Mario Götze, meanwhile, is optimistic, with his team on the upswing in recent weeks: "We just have to try and keep the momentum going."

Highlights: Galatasaray 1-0 Lazio
Highlights: Galatasaray 1-0 Lazio

Can Lazio deny Galatasaray?
With ten points, Group F leaders Crvena zvezda visit second-ranked Braga (nine points) in their final game, with third-placed Midtjylland (eight points) ready to pounce for a qualifying berth, while there is a less pressing issue to be resolved in Group E when Lazio host Galatasaray.

Both clubs are sure of a top-two finish, but Lazio can secure a fast-track path to the round of 16 if they can avenge their 1-0 loss in Istanbul from Matchday 1. Galatasaray have yet to beat an Italian side away from home (D5 L7), giving home boss Maurizio Sarri more confidence. "Let's see if we can win the group and gain direct access to the last 16," he said.

Further ahead?

Highlights: Rangers 0-2 Lyon
Highlights: Rangers 0-2 Lyon

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

• Lyon's Karl Toko Ekambi will look to start 2022 at the top of the UEFA Europa League scorers' list. With six so far, he is one clear of Braga's Galeno and Leicester's Patson Daka. With maximum points going into their concluding match, at home to Rangers, Group A leaders Lyon can become only the tenth club to finish a UEFA Europa League group stage with 18 points.

Key dates

Seville's Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will stage the final
Seville's Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will stage the finalGetty Images

Knockout stage
13 December: Knockout round play-offs 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
18 May: Final (Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, Sevilla)

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