Viewed by some as Europe’s second tier club competition, the Europa League has already been the source of a few surprises. Here are the titans that will not only fail to win European silverware, but that are out of the competition altogether.
Not quite a giant of European football, Ludogorets’ knockout, after finishing last in Group A, is surprising nonetheless. After all, the Bulgarians have enjoyed a string of UCL presences in recent years. Ludogorets lead the Bulgarian championship and are likely to be back here next season.
The Germans have followed a brilliant first season in the Bundesliga with a relatively tame one, that has seen then unceremoniously knocked out of the UEL. The team, that enjoyed their first UCL participation last season, will find it important to reevaluate their situation.
⏰ RESULTS ⏰
Performance of the night? 🤔
ℹ️ Rapid, Malmö, Sevilla, Krasnodar, Rennes, BATE, Celtic, Villarreal, Genk, Slavia Praha & Olympiacos are through to the round of 32. #UEL pic.twitter.com/hDrosYdD2E
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) December 13, 2018
Bordeaux and FC Copenhagen
Not the greatest of surprises, sure. But both clubs enjoy a decent tradition of European football. Neither club seemed capable of posing any real threat to Zenit and Slavia Prague, the two qualifying teams.
Favorites in their group, the Belgium side finished bottom, only managing three draws and losing the other three matches. It’s a poor season for Andrelecht and, perhaps, there is a need for the team to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Stevan Gerrard has brought a new level of hope to Rangers, a club that has had a lot to suffer in recent years. The Scots were drawn into a tough group and despite their best efforts, defeat to Rapid Vienna spells the end of their European affair.
Russian football is enjoying a resurgence with 2 out of 3 clubs from the Europa League making it past the group stage. It’s not the case for Spartak though, a team that struggled against their opponents Villareal, Rapid Vienna and Rangers.
The most important club to be dropped from the competition, AC Milan started their campaign as, perhaps, the biggest club in the group stage, bar Chelsea and Arsenal. Dreams of silverware were understandable, but Milan were wasteful, losing two games and drawing one. The seven times Champions League winners still have a long way to travel back to their past glories.
Another European giant whose glory days seem behind them. Despite having a squad that features plenty of impressive talent, OM looked unmotivated and managed an embarrassing single point from their six matches.
Don’t let this failure fool you! Besiktas are a team famished for European success. But the Turkish side’s early calculations were bewildered by the good displays of Genk and Malmo, the teams that qualified at their expense.
The Europa League’s last 32 are to be drawn on Monday 17th December. And while the UCL and UEL take a break, continue to enjoy Europe’s finest leagues, with FootballCoin organizing free competitions to accommodate all of the biggest matches and our managers’ needs.