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Europa League is the second most important league for the European clubs. While Champion’s League features the best of the best, the Europa League hosts teams that are just a tiny step away from the most prestigious European football tournament. The Europa League is like a safety net, so to speak, for the teams who lose their spot in the Champions League.
Being ‘the second’ doesn’t mean that the Europa League lacks competitiveness or drama on a football field. Far from that – only successfully performing teams from the domestic championships play in the league. You may often see such famous clubs as Manchester United, Ajax Amsterdam, Sevilla, Olympique Lyon and Schalke competing for the title and the lucky ticket to the Champions League.
So are you ready to support your team all the way in the Europa League? Do not miss a match and dive into the thrilling world of European football. You can watch it on BT Sport (UK), Fox Sports Go (U.S.), Sport 1 (DE) and beIN Sports (FR). Away from the country? Get NordVPN and stream sports from anywhere on Earth – well, except Antarctica.
The name. The league acquired its’ current name – the Europa League – only in 2009. Before that it was called the UEFA Cup. The first season took place in 1970-1971 and there were two English teams playing in the final – Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Tottenham Hotspur, the latter of which became the first champions in the league’s history.
Teams. The participating teams in the Europa League differ from tournament to tournament – it depends on which teams lead the national competitions across Europe and which teams get eliminated from the Champions League and get transferred to the Europa League. When it comes to designated slots in the league for each nation, the UEFA relies on the coefficients system: based on their rankings, national associations receive four, three, two or a single slot. The more successful the nation is, the later round of the Europa League it will enter in.
The trophy. The winners of the Europa League get the chance to proudly hoist the UEFA Cup. However, it’s only a full-size replica that the champions team gets to take home – the original trophy always remains in care of the UEFA. Teams that manage to win the Europa League in three consecutive seasons are honoured with a multiple-winner badge. The badge is also awarded to teams that have five champions titles in their bag overall. As for now, only one team has the privilege to wear the multiple-winner badge – it’s Sevilla whose triumph in 2015-2016 season brought the fifth victory in the competition.
Records. Spanish and Italian football clubs are the most successful ones in the Europa League, counting more champions titles than teams from any other European country. If the first final of the Europa League was fully English, a far more unique case happened in 1980: German Bundesliga’s clubs dominated all top four positions: Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Speaking of the best goal scorers, Henrik Larsson with 40 goals in total is the all-time leader in the Europa League.
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