We're In Europe ! Dan 's View On The Europa League
Monday, 23rd May 2016 10:25
Our reporter Dan takes a look at the Group Stages of the Europa league and potential opponents.
Thanks to United’s FA Cup win yesterday, we don’t have to go through the misery of being knocked out at the play-off stage again and we’re straight into the group stage. But who have also qualified across the continent?
There are 16 teams who have automatically qualified for the group stages starting in September but another 22 teams will enter after playing through the qualifying rounds. Currently the teams who have qualified are:
Schalke 04 (Germany)
Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia)
Manchester United (England)
Athletic Bilbao (Spain)
Inter Milan (Italy)
Standard Liège (Belgium)
Mainz 05 (Germany)
Zorya Luhansk (Ukraine)
Winners of Spanish Cup
Winners of Swiss Cup
The obvious choice to have in our group is Feyenoord. In recent years Southampton as grown a bit of a relationship with Holland and specifically Feyenoord, Koeman’s old club and also Jordy Clasie’s. It would definitely be nice for them to have the reunion with their old clubs.
Thinking of away days, Inter Milan are the obvious favourites. A trip to the San Siro, a 90,000 seat monster of a stadium would show just how far Saints have come. Schalke would also give an exciting match in a 60,000 + seat stadium and fellow German club Mainz would be attractive.
Standard Liege in Belgium could be another good trip and easy to get to, their stadium holds 30,000 and so the number of tickets might be limited.
Spain and Portugal would also be good destinations given that they have big stadiums and it would be cheap out there, Athletico Bilbao in Spain's Estadio San Mamés holds 53,000 so tickets won't be a problem.
Braga in Portugal play at the Estádio Municipal de Braga which holds around 30,000 despite being carved out of rock and having only two stands, one on each side of the pitch.
One club many will be hoping to avoid though is Zenit St Petersburg, there will not be a problem with tickets, only getting there and the Russian club fan's reputation for homophobic and racist behavior.
Whoever we get it will be a memorable few months or even longer if we can do well in the knockout stages. I think we can go all the way, obviously it’s very optimistic but it will depend on who comes in and who leaves in the Summer.
Photo: Action Images
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