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UEFA Europa League

Who could Man Utd & Barcelona get in the Europa League knockout play-off round & why do Arsenal get a bye? Seeding & draw procedure explained

01:28 GMT+3 04/11/2022
Robert Lewandowski Cristiano Ronaldo Europa League
The race is on for major honours, with frustrated Champions League outfits preparing to drop into UEFA’s second tier competition

The group stage of the 2022-23 Europa League has come to a close, with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal still in the hunt for continental silverware.

Barcelona, Juventus, Ajax and Sevilla are also preparing to drop into the competition after seeing their respective Champions League campaigns brought to a premature conclusion, with there some heavyweight outfits looking to get their hands on a prestigious major honour.

Who could be paired together in the knockout play-off round and which sides are progressing straight to the last-16? GOAL takes a look…

What is the Europa League knockout play-off round & which teams are involved?

The knockout play-off round of the Europa League serves as a bridge between the group stage and the last-16.

The eight sides that finished as runners-up in their respective groups are given another shot at prolonging their European adventure, while eight third-placed sides from the Champions League enter the fray.

The runners-up from the previous stage of Europa League action are seeded and paired with a team dropping out of UEFA’s elite club competition.

Manchester United ended up runners-up in Group E behind Real Sociedad and will be in the play-off draw meaning there's the possibility of a reunion with Paul Pogba and Juventus.

Arsenal topped Group A which means they avoided the likes of Barca and Ajax for now and head straight into the last 16.

Teams in the Europa League knockout play-off round

Union BerlinGermany
Manchester UnitedEngland
Midtjylland Denmark
Bayer LeverkusenGermany
Sporting CPPortugal
Red Bull SalzburgAustria
Shakhtar DonetskUkraine

Why do some teams get a bye to the last-16 of the Europa League?

The eight teams to have topped their respective standings in the group stage of the 2022-23 Europa League progress straight to the last-16.

Finishing in first place ensures that two more games do not have to be added to already packed schedules, which in theory offers those concerned a kinder run through to the business end of continental competition.

Group winners will be seeded in the last-16 draw and face one of the victors from the knockout play-off round - with the second legs of those contests guaranteed to be at home, while teams from the same country will be kept apart.

Teams in the Europa League last 16

Real BetisSpain
Union Saint-GilloiseBelgium
Real SociedadSpain

Table correct prior to final round of group games on November 3, 2022

When is the draw for the Europa League knockout play-off round & when will the games take place?

The draw for the Europa League knockout play-off round will take place at 12pm GMT (8am ET) on Monday November 7, 2022.

The games themselves are pencilled in for February 16 and 23, with ties in the last-16 due to be staged on March 9 and 16.

All of those still involved are looking to make their way to the final at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on May 31.