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What to look out for on UEFA Europa League Matchday 2

Manchester United travel to Chisinau and we throw a spotlight on an emerging trend.

Rennes' Martin Terrier, Man United's Antony and Fenerbahçe's Michy Batshuayi
Rennes' Martin Terrier, Man United's Antony and Fenerbahçe's Michy Batshuayi

Manchester United face a tough assignment at Sheriff as they look to kick-start their UEFA Europa League campaign, while two sides who were fashionable late last week meet in France.

In this piece presented by Enterprise, we pick out some key talking points ahead of the second set of fixtures.

Thursday 15 September
Group A: Bodø/Glimt vs Zürich (21:00)
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv vs AEK Larnaca (21:00), Rennes vs Fenerbahçe (21:00)
Group C: Real Betis vs Ludogorets (21:00), Roma vs HJK Helsinki (21:00)
Group D: St Gilloise vs Malmö (21:00), Braga vs Union Berlin (21:00)
Group E: Real Sociedad vs Omonoia (18:45), Sheriff vs Man United (18:45)
Group F: Midtjylland vs Lazio (18:45), Feyenoord vs Sturm Graz (18:45)
Group G: Olympiacos vs Freiburg (18:45), Qarabağ vs Nantes (18:45)
Group H: Trabzonspor vs Crvena zvezda (18:45), Monaco vs Ferencváros (18:45)

Thursday 20 October
Group A: Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven (19:00)

All times CET

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, pitching the eight group runners-up against the third-ranked teams from the UEFA Champions League groups. The Europa League third-place sides switch to the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs.

What to look out for

Can United lay down the law?
There have been positive signs to life under Erik ten Hag for Manchester United, but their opening Group E defeat by Real Sociedad exposed a familiar flaw – they can struggle to break down teams with a defensive mindset. The English club will have to learn fast as they can expect more of the same in Chisinau.

They meet a Sheriff side who perfected the rope-a-dope technique in last season's Champions League, famously downing eventual winners Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. The Moldovan title holders were at it again on Matchday 1, managing just 43% possession at Omonoia – and winning 3-0.

Highlights: Man. United 0-1 Real Sociedad

Believing till the end
Late drama and furious rewriting of match reports was a theme on Matchday 1. Five games went into the last few minutes with teams locked at 1-1, but only one – PSV vs Bodø/Glimt – remained so when the full-time whistle blew.

Fenerbahçe, Rennes, Ludogorets and Nantes all snatched last-gasp victories thanks to a combination of debut goals, substitutes and individual brilliance. It ain't over till it's over in the Europa League, and there should be no early departures when Rennes host fellow latecomers Fenerbahçe.

Highlights: AEK Larnaca 1-2 Rennes

When are the remaining Europa League group stage games?

Matchday 3: 6 October 2022
Matchday 4: 13 October 2022
Matchday 5: 27 October 2022
Matchday 6: 3 November 2022

Further ahead
• Roma's home-and-away fixtures against Betis on Matchdays 3 and 4 have gained added importance following José Mourinho's side's shock defeat by Ludogorets. Could the Giallorossi end up defending their UEFA Europa Conference League crown in the new year?

• Ferencváros made a strong start to the group stage and are a team to track as it unfolds; the only Hungarian side involved in any of the major men's club competition group stages this term, the Budapest outfit have a chance to play in the final in their home city.

Highlights: Ferencváros 3-2 Trabzonspor

Where is the 2023 UEFA Europa League final being played?

The 2022/23 Europa League season will conclude at Budapest's Puskás Aréna on 31 May 2023.

Officially opened in 2019, the 65,000+ capacity ground stands on the site of the old Hungarian national team stadium, which was also named in honour of former Honvéd and Real Madrid forward Ferenc Puskás. The venue is located in the Zugló district of the Hungarian capital.

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