Eintracht Frankfurt, Lyon and West Ham have safely navigated the UEFA Europa League group stage, but plenty of other issues remain unresolved.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car presents UEFA.com’s guide to the stand-out stories.
How qualifying for the knockouts works
The eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16. Additional knockout round play-offs will then be played before the round of 16 between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams from the UEFA Champions League groups.
Wednesday 24 November
Group C: Spartak Moskva 2-1 Napoli
Thursday 25 November
Group A: Rangers vs Sparta Praha, Brøndby vs Lyon
Group B: PSV Eindhoven vs Sturm Graz, Monaco vs Real Sociedad
Group C: Leicester vs Legia Warszawa
Group D: Olympiacos vs Fenerbahçe, Eintracht Frankfurt vs Royal Antwerp
Group E: Galatasaray vs Marseille, Lokomotiv Moskva vs Lazio
Group F: Midtjylland vs Braga, Crvena zvezda vs Ludogorets
Group G: Leverkusen vs Celtic, Real Betis vs Ferencváros
Group H: GNK Dinamo vs Genk, Rapid Wien vs West Ham
What to look out for?
Galatasaray welcome draw-masters Marseille
Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim bemoaned wasteful finishing after his side drew 1-1 against Lokomotiv Moskva on Matchday 4: “If you miss that many chances in a match, you could even risk a defeat.” He will hope his team can sharpen up their shooting as Marseille visit, looking to avoid a fifth straight draw in Group E. Coach Jorge Sampaoli is adamant that they deserve more than they have had. “There’s no justice in football,” he said. “We’ve led all four matches, we’ve played with a lot of courage and personality.”
Celtic up against it in Leverkusen
Celtic feel that things are finally going their way after back-to-back victories over Ferencváros, coach Ange Postecoglou purring after “a fantastic performance” in Budapest last time out. However, fantastic may not be enough as they tackle Group G leaders Leverkusen, the German side having pounded their main section rivals Real Betis 4-0 at the BayArena on 4 November after having earlier won 4-0 at Parkhead. Like Celtic, Rangers are also third in their pool, but will rise to second if they can avenge their 1-0 away loss against Sparta Praha in Group A.
Leicester plot their escape route
Leicester ended Matchday 4 in third place in Group C, Brendan Rodgers’ team a little underwhelmed after following up a 4-3 win at Spartak Moskva with a 1-1 draw at home. However, the Leicester manager took consolation in the fact that he will no longer have to be checking the permutations if all goes well in their final games against Legia on 25 November and then Napoli. “I think it simplifies it now,” he said. “We’ve got to win the next two games. And if we do that, we’ll win the group.”
• Group A pacesetters Lyon are certain of their round of 16 spot, but have plenty of reasons to keep piling on the goals; Karl Toko Ekambi is the top scorer in this season’s tournament with six and has netted on every matchday, while no other side have outscored Lyon’s 12 goals. Can they become the first French club to win this competition?
• Sturm Graz earned their first point on Matchday 4, but Group B remains a three-horse race which may not reach its climax until Matchday 6 when PSV Eindhoven – currently third – visit Real Sociedad. The teams drew 2-2 in the Netherlands in their opening fixture, yet both trail Monaco in the race for guaranteed last-16 entry.
15/16 September: Matchday 1
30 September: Matchday 2
20/21 October: Matchday 3
4 November: Matchday 4
24/25 November: Matchday 5
9 December: Matchday 6
13 December: Knockout round play-offs draw
17 & 24 February: Knockout round play-offs
25 February: Round of 16 draw
10 & 17 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
7 & 14 April: Quarter-finals
28 April & 5 May: Semi-finals
18 May: Final (Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, Sevilla)