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What to look out for on UEFA Europa League Matchday 2

We take a look at the key storylines as the UEFA Europa League group stage moves onto Matchday 2.

Europa League Ones to Watch: Matchday 2

There could be a family affair at Anfield, West Ham are heading back to Germany and four new challengers are set to make their home bows in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

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In this piece presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we pick out some key talking points ahead of the second round of group stage fixtures. Remember: Every mission matters.

Thursday 5 October

Freiburg vs West Ham (18:45)
TSC vs Olympiacos (18:45)

Marseille vs Brighton (18:45)

AEK Athens vs Ajax (18:45)

Real Betis vs Sparta Praha (18:45)

Aris Limassol vs Rangers (18:45)

Sporting CP vs Atalanta (18:45)

Raków Czestochowa vs Sturm Graz (18:45)

Liverpool vs Union SG (21:00)

Toulouse vs LASK (21:00)

Villarreal vs Rennes (21:00)

Maccabi Haifa vs Panathinaikos (21:00)

Roma vs Servette (21:00)

Slavia Praha vs Sheriff Tiraspol (21:00)

Molde vs Leverkusen (21:00)

Häcken vs Qarabağ (21:00)

All kick-off 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

Brothers reunite

It will certainly be a special occasion for the Mac Allister family on Matchday 2 with brothers Alexis from Liverpool and Kevin of Union SG set to face off at Anfield. Footage captured Kevin celebrating wildly when the draw was made, and he had a very simple message for the camera: "See you soon bro."

Away from sibling rivalry, it will be an important match for both sides in what looks like being a highly competitive Group E, with Liverpool coming from behind to beat LASK away in their first game and Union SG drawing at home with Toulouse. Both clubs have passionate fans who follow their team through thick and thin, and there should be a superb atmosphere in store.

Highlights: LASK 1-3 Liverpool

West Ham return to Germany
The Hammers suffered a painful experience on their last trip to Germany when they were defeated by Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals of this competition in the 2021/22 season. David Moyes' UEFA Europa Conference League-winning team are unbeaten on the continent since then, and they will feel they are a more experienced squad as they prepare to travel to Freiburg.

"To be in a semi-final and a final in two [successive] years is a big thing in Europe," Moyes reflected. "I'm going to try and do it again if I can. I hope we can do it again, I really do, because of the magical moments. To be fortunate enough to win a European trophy doesn't happen every day."

Highlights: West Ham 3-1 TSC Bačka Topola

Home debuts await

After making their first ever group stage appearances on Matchday 1, TSC Bačka Topola, Aris Limassol, Raków Czestochowa and Häcken will now have the opportunity to play in front of their home fans for the first time in the competition. All four sides lost their opening matches, so they will be hoping that taking to the pitch in familiar surroundings will inspire them to progress to the next level and get a debut win.

As Raków coach Dawid Szwarga said after his side's 2-0 defeat at Atalanta: "To take a step forward, you need to know how we looked compared to our rivals. Atalanta were better today, deservedly won and this is a valuable lesson for us, which I hope we will use in the next matches."

Highlights: Atalanta 2-0 Raków

When are the remaining Europa League group stage games?

Matchday 3: 26 October 2023
Matchday 4: 9 November 2023
Matchday 5: 30 November 2023
Matchday 6: 14 December 2023

Further ahead
• There will be an intriguing clash between upcoming challengers Brighton and European royalty Ajax when the two sides meet at the Community Stadium in Group B on Matchday 3, where the Seagulls lost their first ever European game against AEK Athens.

• Sparta Praha and Rangers meet in Group C. The two teams last faced each other in the European Cup in 1991/92, with Rangers winning on away goals in the first round following an aggregate 2-2 scoreline.

• Marseille versus AEK Athens is also a repeat of a previous European Cup tie. The French side came out on top 3-1 on aggregate in the second round in 1989/90 before eventually losing to Benfica in the semi-final.

Where is the 2024 UEFA Europa League final being played?

©Getty Images

The 2023/24 UEFA Europa League season will conclude at Dublin Arena in the Republic of Ireland on 22 May 2024.

With a capacity in excess of 50,000, Dublin Arena is the home of the Republic of Ireland's national football and Ireland's rugby union team. First opened in 2010, the stadium will be staging its second UEFA Europa League decider, having been the venue for the all-Portuguese final of 2011 between Porto and Braga, when Radamel Falcao scored the only goal as the Dragons took the trophy.

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