Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Ahead of the final round of 2018/19 Europa League fixtures on Thursday, 19 of the 32 places in next year’s knockout phase are still up for grabs.
Below we take a detailed look at the different possible permutations and potential positional reshuffles that could take place across the 12 Europa League Groups depending on Thursday’s results.
Make sure to check out all of our Europa League match previews, predictions and betting tips to find out which teams are most likely to get the results they need this week.
Already Qualified: Bayer Leverkusen & Zurich
Eliminated: Ludogorets, AEK Larnaca
Current leaders Bayer Leverkusen will be confirmed as Group A winners if they win on Thursday away at AEK Larnaca, or if Zurich don’t win. The Swiss side can finish first if they win away to Ludogorets and Leverkusen don’t beat their Cypriot opponents.
Already Qualified: Salzburg
Salzburg are guaranteed to top the group, and Celtic will join them in the next phase if they win or draw against the Austrians in Scotland this week, or if RB Leipzig don’t win their home game against Rosenborg.
To qualify, RB Leipzig must win and hope Celtic lose. That scenario would put the German side level on points with Celtic, though they would go through due to their better head-to-head record.
Already Qualified: Zenit
Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg are through as Group C winners, though the identity of the club joining them in the next phase will be decided on Thursday.
Slavia Prague will go through with a win at home to the Russians, though can can also qualify with a draw if the other Group C game finishes level.
Kobenhavn must win their game against Bordeaux and hope Slavia lose theirs against Zenit if they are to qualify. Similarly, Bordeaux can qualify if they beat Kobenhavn in Denmark and Slavia Prague lose at thome to Zenit.
Already Qualified: Dinamo Zagreb & Fenerbahçe
Eliminated: Spartak Trnava & Anderlecht
Dinamo Zagreb are through as Group D winners and Fenerbahçe have guaranteed their qualification spot as runners up.
Spartak Trnava and Anderlecht have already been eliminated, though they can swap places depending on results on Thursday.
Already Qualified: Arsenal & Sporting CP
Eliminated: Qarabag & Vorskla
Arsenal are guaranteed to finish at the summit of Group E, while Portuguese club Sporting CP will finish in second place.
Qarabag and Vosrkla have been eliminated, though the Azerbaijanis can move off the bottom of the table if they achieve a better result in their final game at Arsenal than Vorksla do in Portugal.
Already Qualified: Real Betis
Real Betis have already booked their place in the knockout phase and they can cement top spot with a win at Dudelange, or if Milan don’t beat Olympiacos in Greece.
Milan will qualify if they get a point in Athens or if they lose by a 1-goal margin. They can finish first if they win and Betis don’t.
Olympiacos must beat AC Milan 2-0, 3-1 or by 3 goals or more to make it through. Dudelange are out having failed to win a single point so far.
Already Qualified: ?
All 4 teams can still qualify from Group G as we approach the section’s last set of fixtures.
Villarreal will qualify with a draw at home to Spartak Moscow, though they can finish as Group winners with 3 points.
Rapid Wien will also go through if they draw at home to Rangers. They will finish top if they win and Villarreal don’t, or if they draw and the Spaniards lose to Spartak.
Rangers MUST beat Rapid Wien away to go through, and the same applies for Spartak Moscow. The Russians MUST win in Spain against Villarreal to qualify.
Already Qualified: Eintracht Frankfurt & Lazio
Eliminated: Apollon Limassol and Marseille
Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt are through as Group H winners and Italian club Lazio are into the next phase as runners up.
Apollon Limassol and Marseille are both out, though the French side cane leapfrog the Cypriots into 3rd if they beat them in France.
Already Qualified: ?
All 4 competing clubs in Group I can still qualify for the Europa League knockout phase.
Belgian side Genk will go through if they avoid defeat at home to Sarpsborg, though they face elimination with a defeat in a 2-way head-to-head with Sarpsborg or a 3-way-tie-break involving Besiktas.
Besiktas will qualify if they avoid defeat at home to Malmo. The Turkish side will be eliminated if they lose however.
Malmo must win in Turkey to qualify from Group I. Similarly, Sarpsborg must take maximum points in Belgium against Genk to go through.
Already Qualified: ?
Eliminated: Akhisar Belediyespor
Current Group J leaders Krasnodar need just a point from their game at Sevilla to win the section, though they can lose and still qualify if Standard Liege drop points in their game.
Even if Standard win their match in Turkey against Akhisar Belediyespor, Krasnodar would have to lose 4-0 or by a 5+ goal margin to crash out.
Sevilla will qualify if they win or least match Standard’s result in Turkey. Standard will go through if they pick up more points than Sevilla, or if they win and Krasnodar lose by any of the margins explained above.
Akhisar are already eliminated.
Already Qualified: Dynamo Kyiv
Dynamo Kyiv are though as Group K winners. Astana will qualify if they avoid defeat away to Rennes on Thursday.
If Rennes win, they will go through to the knockout stage at Astana’s expense.
Jablonec are guaranteed to finish bottom of the Group.
Already Qualified: Chelsea
The Premier League’s Chelsea are through as group winners having won 100% of their matches so far.
BATE Borisov can join them in the next stage if they win, or if they draw and Vidi don’t beat Chelsea.
Vidi will qualify if they pick up more points than BATE in their respective final fixtures.
PAOK will finish 2nd if they beat BATE and Vidi lose to Chelsea.
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