*PLEASE NOTE THE UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST IS AVAILABLE HERE*
In advance of our return to Europe next season EB has collated a Europa league nerd database to assist you with your excursions. This is just a starter for ten really, a ‘one dig approach’ if you like, so If you’ve visited any of the stadiums or have any local knowledge about hostels, shortcuts, decent boozers or salubrious hangouts please let us know and and we’ll stick in the detail.
Apollon Limassol enter at the playoff stage.The team’s current stadium is the 13,000 seater Tsirion Stadium, also known as the Olympia Stadium. Monarch fly direct from Manchester to Larnaca or you can fly to pathos and drive the last 100km.
FC Atromitos (enter at Third qualifying round) Capacity of the Peristieri Stadium is just 10,200. Ground is located in western Athens – you can fly direct from Manchester / London Gatwick with Easyjet
Astra Giorgio (enter at Third qualifying round) play at the 7,000 capacity Stadionul Marin Anastasovici. To get to Romania fly from Manchester – Bucharest via Amsterdam with KLM. Then its a 1 hour drive from Bucharest. If you fancy taking in the sights of Europe to Bucharest a 2 day train trip starts from London to Paris by Eurostar, then go from Paris to Munich overnight by the City Night Line sleeper train Cassiopeia, leaving Paris Gare de l’Est daily at 20:05 and arriving in Munich at 07:10 next morning. Then go from Munich to Budapest by air-conditioned Austrian RailJet train, leaving Munich at 09:34 and arriving in Budapest Keleti at 16:49. For the final leg of the journey go from Budapest to Bucharest overnight on the EuroNight sleeper train Ister, leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 12:10 next morning.
Betting– The toffees have been installed as 4th favourites at a best priced 20/1 with sky bet. Inter at 16/1 are favourites. We’ll keep an eye on the best odds and also any free bets we can find.
Borussia Mönchengladbach enter at the Playoff stage. Their Borussia-park stadium has a 54,000 capacity. Tickets would be hard to come by, Borussia have a hard core local support and the last time they took part in 12/13 had the 4th top average gate of 44,431 from their 4 games although that’s 10,000 light of their capacity.To get there, fly to Dusseldorf or Cologne from Manchester (or Easyjet from London Gatwick – Cologne-Bonn) . Then catch a train from Cologne-Bonn to Monchengladbach which is a 1hr 15min journey.
Brondby (enter at Third qualifying round) are Copenhagen’s top side but could only muster 4th place in their domestic league last season. They play in the 29,000 capacity and innovatively titled Brondby Stadium. Direct flights can be booked from Manchester / London Stansted to Copenhagen with Easyjet or go via Malmo and train it. This hotel is decent and right next to the railway station.
Co-efficient – Currently our UEFA co-efficient rating is 24.9 ( at the top of pot 3) which should see us in pot 2 barring the unlikely scenario where everyone from Pot’s 1 & 2 get through to the group stage. Bert Kassies guide to the Europa League is pretty definitive for co-efficient rankings and is worth bookmarking. Based on Bert’s data the 4 pot scenario currently looks like this….
We could end up with an ideal scenario (in terms of aways) with trips to sizeable grounds and more than likely low home crowds at Inter, Sociedad and Lech Poznan. The doomsday scenario would probably be Villareal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Estoril.
Champions League teams – In the group phase 10 losers from the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League play-off round enter the fray. In the last 32 they will be joined by the 8 third-placed teams from the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League group stage. Six teams who have dropped out of the ECL have gone onto win the Europa League; 12-13 Chelsea / 09-10 Atletico Madrid / 08-09 Shaktar Donetsk / 04-05 CSKA Moscow / 01-02 Feyenoord / 99-00 Galatasaray
Club Brugge enter at the Third qualifying round. Their Jan Breydel stadium has a capacity of 29,473 and is just a short bus ride from the city centre. In their last outing in the competition Brugge only averaged only 16,833 per game, (13,000 less than capacity) so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem.
To get to brugge the Eurostar will take you from London StP to via Brussels in 3 and a bit hours. This hostel is ideal, its cheap, clean and has a nightclub in the basement. Plus, there is a nice cafe a few doors down which will do you a massive flemish stew for a couple of euros.
Chornomorets Odessa (enter at Third qualifying round) The Capacity of the Chornomorets Stadium is 34,164.Should we get them in the group, tickets for this one will be hard to come by – Odesa had one of the highest average crowds (24,140) in last seasons competition. A hyrbid of KLM / Ukraine Airlines will take you from Manchester via Amsterdam and Kiev to what is arguably the most edgy of the potential trips into the unknown. There’s no cheeky Nandos here lids.
If you have time and fancy multi stops a 3-4 day train trip is possible. First travel from London to Brussels by Eurostar, then onwards to Cologne by ICE high-speed train Next up travel from Cologne to Warsaw overnight on the Jan Kiepura EuroNight sleeper train, leaving Cologne at 22:28 and arriving at Warsaw Centralna at 12:15 next day. From there travel from Warsaw to Kyïv on the Kiev Express leaving Warsaw at 16:50 every day and arriving in Kyïv at 10:35 next morning. A daily fast train (train 9) leaves Kiev at 14:40 and arrives in Odessa at 23:00. Alternatively, a daily high-quality sleeper train (train 105) links Kiev and Odessa, with 1st class 2-berth and 2nd class 4-berth sleepers link. It leaves Kiev at 22:05 arriving Odessa at 06:55 next morning.
Dates (Group and beyond)
Match-day 1 – 18th sept
Match-day 2 – 2nd oct
Match-day 3 – 23rd oct
Match-day 4 – 6th nov
Match-day 5 – 27th nov
Match-day 6 – 11th dec
19/26th 1st knockout rounds
12/19th march 2nd knockout rounds
16/23 april quarter finals
7/14 may semi finals
27th may final
Dynamo Moscow (enter at Third Qualifying Round) Secured their place by virtue of a fourth placed finish in their domestic league this season. The Khimki Stadium holds 18,636 although their average crowd in the Russian league last season was 7,826 so tickets won’t be hard to come-by. Having recently visited I’d recommend this hotel – if there are 3 of you it works out around £30 per night and its a decent standard, centrally located for the metro, grounds and tourist places.
Draw (for the group stage) takes place on the 29th August 2014
Ermis Aradippou are a Cypriot club based near Larnaca. Their ground The Ammochostos Stadium has a capacity of 5,500. Monarch fly direct from Manchester to Larnaca or you can fly to Pathos and drive the last 100km.
Estoril -4th placed finish last time round in Portugal’s top flight secured them an automatic berth in the group phase. Their stadium only holds 5,000 fans and is a 20 minute drive from Lisbon. Whatever you do, don’t stay in the Lisboa Bungalows.
F – Flights – Sky scanner is a pretty good site for securing minge bag flights.
Fiorentina – Fourth placed team in Italy and slayers of the toffees a few years ago, with the away leg one of the wettest and most grimmest matches in living memory, not helped by over-zealous policing. Direct flights go from Liverpool Airport to Florence or for a cheaper deal go to Pisa and then train it. Or you can train it from London via the afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris (from £40), then jump on the overnight Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan from just €35 including a couchette. Change in Milan for a high-speed train to Florence.
G – Group Phase (this is where we enter the tournament) ….A total of 48 teams play in the group stage: 7 teams which enter in this stage, the 31 winners from the play-off round, and the 10 losers from the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League play-off round. The 48 teams will be allocated into four pots based on their 2014 UEFA club coefficients, with the title holders being placed in Pot 1 automatically. They will be drawn into twelve groups of four, with the restriction that teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other. In each group, teams will play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format. The group winners and runners-up will advance to the round of 32.
Guingamp (Enter at Group Stage) French cup winners who play at the Stade du Roudourou – a ground which holds 18,000 (last season’s league average gate 15,000). Seven hour train journey from London on the Eurostar or fly from Liverpool to Nantes and drive the remaining 2 hours.
I – Internazionale (enter at Playoff stage) Milan behemoths qualified by virtue of a 5th placed finish. The San Siro holds 80,000 so shouldnt be problematic tickets wise. Ryanair fly direct from Manchester. Alternatively you can train it from London via the afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris (from £40), then jump on the overnight Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan from just €35 including a couchette.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona (enter at Third qualifying round). Capacity of the Municipal Stadium is 5,300 – they averaged a gate of 1,983 in their last Europa league campaign, roughly 3,000 down on the capacity. Its located in the North District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley on the Lebanese border. Logistics wise this could be a tricky one. flying to Beirut could be a goer with Pegasus Airlines flying from London Stansted.
Kyiv (Dynamo) – Ukrainian cup winners. Home ground is named after their celebrated ex boss the ‘Valeriy Lobanovskyi’ Dynamo Stadium and holds 16,800. For the big games they use NSC Olimpiyskiy Ground which holds 70,000. Airfrance fly from Manchester to Kiev with 1 stop off in Paris or go direct with BA from Heathrow. Hotel Opera is a smart place to stay in Kiev, but not cheap. The Khreschatyk (think adelphi) is right in the thick of things (and has it’s own casino) for those on a tighter budget
Lokeren (enter at Playoff stage) Belgian cup winners – their ground has a capacity of 9,560. Its a 45 minute drive from Brussels.
Lokomotiv Moscow (enter at Playoff) finished 3rd in the Russian top flight. Capacity of the shiny new Lokomotiv stadium is 28,000 although their average gate in the league last season was only 12,000.
Lyon (enter at Third qualifying round) Finished 5th in France’s top flight last season. Their stadium holds 40,000 and is 5 1/2 hours on the Eurostar from London. Alternatively fly with Easyjet from Liverpool via Geneva.Should we get them in the group, tickets for this one will be hard to come by – Lyon had one of the highest average crowds (29,045) in last seasons competition.
(enter at Third qualifying round) German outfit who finished 7th last season in the Bundesliga. Their ground holds 34,000 although average crowd for their Bundesliga games last season was 30,983 so it will be tough to get tickets. To get there its a 45 min train journey from Frankfurt. This excellent article give some great tips on Mainz logistics, food and beer.
(enter at Playoff stage) Ukranian outfit who we visited a few years ago. Finished 3rd in their domestic league last time out. Capacity of their ground is 40,000. In 12/13 metalist averaged 37,857 in the Europa league from their 4 games which was the sixth highest so tickets could be tricky to come by.You can either fly direct from London or fly to Kiev / Moscow and train the remainder.
Midtjylland (enter at Playoff stage) Danish 3rd placed side with a 12.000 capacity. Fly in-direct with SAS to Billund (via Oslo) and then drive / train the remainder. Alternatively fly to Aarhus (although its a bit more £££)
Nacional (enter at playoff stage ) Portuguese 5th placed side. Capacity of their ground is a limited 5,000. You can fly direct to Madeira from Manchester with Jet2.
P – Parma (enter at Third qualifying round) Finished 6th in this season’s Italian top flight. Capacity of the ground is 23,045 although their average league gate last season was just 12k, so tickets in the home end won’t be too hard to come by. You can fly direct to Bologna from Manchester with Ryanair then either train or drive the final 100km.
PAOK (enter at Playoff stage) Greek outfit who finished 3rd in their domestic championship. Capacity of the stadium is 28,704. In last seasons competition they only pulled in 12,587 per game on average so nabbing a seat in the home end won’t be difficult. Easyet fly direct from Manchester to Thessaloniki.
A group stage participation in the Europa League awards a base fee of €1.3 million. A victory in the group pays €200,000 and a draw €100,000. Also, each group winner earns €400,000 and each runner-up €200,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €200,000 for the round of 32, €350,000 for the round of 16, €450,000 for the quarter-finals and €1 million for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €2.5 million and the champions get €5 million.
- Base fee for group stage: €1,300,000
- Group match victory: €200,000
- Group match draw: €100,000
- Group winners: €400,000
- Group runners-up: €200,000
- Round of 32: €200,000
- Round of 16: €350,000
- Quarter-finals: €450,000
- Semi-finals: €1,000,000
- Losing finalist: €2,500,000
- Winners: €5,000,000
PSV (Third qualifying round) Dutch heavyweights who finished 4th this season. Ground capacity is 35,000 however last season PSV averaged only 15,000 per game in the europa, so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem. Trains from Amsterdam to Eindhoven depart every 30 mins with a journey time of 1hr 20 mins or fly from Manchester to Eindhoven with Ryanair.
R – Real Sociedad (enter at Third qualifying round) 7th placed in la liga was enough to qualify the San Sebastien outfit. Potentially an immense awayday. Capacity 32,200. Fly to Bilbao or alternatively fly/Eurostar from UK to Paris then catch the train to Hendaye on the Spanish frontier by high-speed TGV, leaving Paris Montparnasse > Hendaye. Then travel from Hendaye to San Sebastian by Euskotren. Train time from Hendaye to San Sebastian Amara station is 37 minutes.
Rio Ave (enter at Third qualifying round) Portuguese cup runners up. Capacity of their ground is a limited 12,815. Its a 20 minute drive from Porto airport which can be reached directly from Liverpool.
Rostov(enter at Playoff stage) Russian cup winners with their ground holding a capacity of 15,840 – their average gate in the Russian league last season was 11,545. Fly to Moscow with Easyjet, then get one of the Russian minge bag carriers (Ural or Transaero) to take you the remainder to Rostov.
Rapid Wien(enter at Playoff stage) Secured second place in the Austrian championship this time round. Capacity of the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium is 17,500 although for the Europa games they often switch the matches to the larger Ernst-Happel-Stadion. This ground is more than double the size with a 50,000 capacity – their average for games in the Europa last time out was 34,499 which was one of the highest in the tournament. Fly from Liverpool to Bratislava then catch a 1.5 hour train to Vienna
Sevilla – Europa League winners in 2014, their stadium has a sizeable capacity of 40,000 – ideal for match day 1. Direct flights go from Manchester or fly to Malaga and do the remaining 100 miles by train or car. I’d recommend this hotel
Sivasspor (enter at Third qualifying round) Capacity is limited to 14,998. Turkish Airways fly from Manchester with a stop off in Istanbul. Currently managed by Roberto Carlos.
Saint-Étienne (enter at Playoff stage) Fourth placed finish in their domestic league this season secured their place in the playoffs. Ground holds 35,000 and is a 7 Hour journey from London on the Eurostar.
Tickets – You can make a decent judgement on how hard its going to be to get tickets for the aways by looking at the capacity / average gates noted on these pages. At a push there is always the ticket exchange sites like Viagogo and StubHub although they will charge a fair wedge in terms of mark up on the listed prices. For the final, this season the respective sides got 9,000 tickets each (around 20% of the capacity) so with Warsaw’s 58,000 capacity its going to be more like 12,000 each . Alternatively you can enter Uefa’s ballot via their online portal with tickets priced between 45 and 150 Euro’s. Uefa’s ballot opened this year on the 27th Feb.
Torino enter at the playoff stage. They play on the site of the former Comunale, renamed Stadio Olimpico di Torino, or simply, Stadio Olimpico. It has a capacity of 28,140 seats, 38,000 less than the original Comunale (in accordance with modern safety standards), and has hosted all Torino home games since 2006. Last season’s average league gate was just 17,000. The club are based in Piedmont so fly to Milan and train or drive the remaining 100km.
Twente (enter at Playoff stage) Dutch outfit whose ground holds 30,000. In their last outing in the Europa in 12/13 Twente only averaged only 19,773 per game which is 10,000 down on capacity so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem. The city itself is just two hours on the train from Amsterdam or you can get the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam and then train the remainder. This post from European Football Weekends gives a good flavour of what to expect, but be warned, the home team come out to the tune of You’ll never walk alone
Trabzonspor (enter at Playoff stage) 24,000 capacity ground. Last season Trabzonspur only averaged only 15,298 per game, (just under 9,000 short of 24,000 capacity) so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem. Turkish Airlines fly from Manchester via Istanbul.
Victoria Plzen (enter at Third qualifying round) Czech outfit who finished third in their division this time round. Capacity is only 11,700 and they averaged a gate of 10,766 in last seasons competition so tickets will be few and far between. If you don’t fancy flying then travel from London to Brussels by Eurostar and then onto Cologne by ICE high-speed train from Cologne to Prague by City Night Line sleeper train, leaving Cologne daily at 22:28 and arriving in Prague’s central Hlavni station at 09:27 the next morning.
Fly to Prague from Manchester or with Easyjet from Bristol / London Stansted. Cheaper from East Midlands to Prague with Jet2.
Villarreal (playoff) – 6th placed team in Spain, a mission to get to – for flights go via Valencia.capacity 24,890
Visas (Russia) Budget £100 and get them sorted early as can take 2 months to process. Online app takes around 40mins to complete.
Warsaw – The Stadion Narodowy is the location for the final (Also see ‘T’ for tickets)
Wolfsburg (Enter at Group Stage) 5th placed team in Germany last season. The VW Stadium holds 30,000. Fly to Berlin then catch a 2 hour train to Wolfsburg.
Young Boys (enter at Third qualifying round) ground has a 32,000 capacity. Last season Young Boys averaged only 22,798 per game, (just under 10,000 short of the capacity) so getting a seat in the home end may be a problem. Fly to Basel from Manchester / London Gatwick direct with Easyjet, then its a 1 hr drive.
Zwolle (PEC) (enter at playoff stage) Dutch outfit with a stadium capacity of 12,500. Its a 1hr 30 min train journey from Amsterdam.
Zurich (Playoff) Swiss cup winners, their ground has a 25,000 capacity. Direct flight from Manchester with Swiss Air or from London Luton / Gatwick with Easyjet. Alternatively it’s quite straight forward to train it from London to Basel or Zurich. Take Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in just 2 hours 20 minutes, then a direct TGV-Lyria high-speed train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Basel in 3 hours 03 minutes or Paris to Zurich in 4 hours 03 minutes. London to Basel or Zurich starts at £62 one-way, £115 return, city centre to city centre, no baggage fees, no check-in fees, no extra to pay to travel to and from airports.