It’s Thursday and the nights are drawing in, which can only mean one thing — it's time for the UEFA Europa League draw.
For England, it’s Arsenal, Manchester United and Wolves flying the flag, with each of three having made at least one final appearance since this competition began as the UEFA Cup in 1971. For Scotland, Celtic and Rangers are both very much in it and looking dangerous but which teams will they face in the knock-outs?
There 24 clubs still left plus the 12 third-placed teams parachuting in from the Champions League group stage. That makes this a round of 32 all vying for a place in the Europa League final, which takes place in Poland at the 41,620-seater Stadion Energa in Gdańsk on 27th May 2020.
When is the Europa League draw?
The group stage is all settled, so it's over to Nyon, Switzerland, for 12pm GMT on Monday 16th December for the last 32 draw to find out whom Arsenal, Manchester United, Wolves, Celtic and Rangers will all be playing.
Where can you watch the Europa League draw?
The draw for the last 32 of the 2019/2020 Europa League will be televised on BT Sport. You can also watch it for free by using the Europa League draw live stream on the UEFA website.
What is the format of the draw?
The format of the draw for the round of 32 plays seeded teams against unseeded teams. Seeded teams are those who finished top of their groups while those qualifying in second place are unseeded. That means Manchester United, Arsenal and Celtic are seeded while Rangers and Wolves are unseeded.
As for the 12 Champions League teams, the four with the most points from the group stage are seeded while the other four are unseeded.
The rules for the draw are that no club can face a team they've already played in the group stage. The other stipulation is that teams cannot be drawn against other sides from their same association. In other words, English clubs can't play English clubs, Spanish clubs can't play Spanish clubs, etc.
The possible opponents for the round of 32 for the British clubs are as follows:
Arsenal: APOEL, Club Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting CP, Cluj, Getafe, Copenhagen, Wolfsburg, Ludogrets, Rangers, Monchengladbach, AZ Alkmaar.
Celtic: APOEL, Club Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting CP, Getafe, Copenhagen, Wolfsburg, Ludogrets, Wolves, Monchengladbach, AZ Alkmaar, Frankfurt.
Manchester United: APOEL, Club Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting CP, Cluj, Getafe, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Wolfsburg, Ludogrets, Rangers, Monchengladbach.
Rangers: Ajax, Benfica, Espanyol, Inter Milan, Salzburg, Sevilla, FC Basel, LASK, Malmo, Gent, Roma, Arsenal, Manchester United, Braga.
Wolves: Ajax, Benfica, Celtic, Espanyol, Inter Milan, Salzburg, Sevilla, FC Basel, LASK, Malmo, Gent, Porto, Roma.
The round of 32 ties will take place 20th February and 27th February. Seeded teams will play away from home in the first leg.
There are no new rules for the knock-out stages. If teams are tied on aggregate score after the final whistle of the second leg, then the team with more away goals goes through.
Should away goals be equal at that stage, then the game goes to extra time. If the aggregate score and away goals are still equal at the of extra time, then a penalty shoot-out ensues. VAR will be used throughout the tournament.
Watch Europa League football anywhere in the world using a VPN
We'll look at the TV and live stream options for UK and USA-based Europa League fans below, but even after spending all that money on a TV sports subscription you're still not going to be able to watch the football from another country.
There are certain territories where the Europa League football is free to watch (you can find a full list of the free Europa League broadcasters here, along with the pay channels too). So, if you're away in one of these places, you may just need to tune in on your hotel TV or find a local bar.
Anywhere else and you'll want to get yourself a VPN instead. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can spoof an IP address which is local to the server you’d like to access. That way your service provider will think you’re in the correct country to do so and allow you to watch the Europa League on your subscription as if you were back home.
VPNs are also as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or accessing websites people in your location are not supposed to do. They encrypt the data passing between you and the server, so that the information remains private.
So, whether you want to watch live football, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then a VPN is well worth considering.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:
You can get three months free when you sign up to a year-long plan, bringing VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets. Express also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Which comes in at as little as $2.99 (£2.29) per month and features 24/7 assistance
Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the match. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in.
You can find a full list of the world's broadcasters with rights to show live the Europa League football here.
Watch the Europa League live the UK
Rights to show the UEFA Europa League in the UK belong to BT Sport, whose long-term deal to broadcast all matches from UEFA club competitions means you'll also be able to enjoy the Champions League. BT Sport also has the Bundesliga, which makes a subscription this season a very decent offer.
Upgrading to all four BT Sport channels is no big deal if you’re already a BT TV customer and it’s even better if you’re on BT Broadband too. The former group can add the package for £10 per month, while it’s only £6 per month for the latter.View Deal
New BT broadband and BT TV customers will gain access to the coverage free of charge, while it costs £10 each month for existing customers. Sky TV users can also add BT Sport to their existing package from £25 a month, but that will not include any 4K viewing.
Lucky Virgin Media customers can enjoy the Ultra HD action, however. For prices and details, see the 4K section below.
Sky TV customers who use BT Broadband can add BT Sport for just £15 per month and get full access to the Europa League and all the other BT Sports in HD across four channels. A BT Sports app-only upgrade is £10 per month. For Sky broadband customers it’s £25 per month with a rolling contract option.View Deal
However you subscribe to BT Sport, you will get access to streams via the BT website and BT Sport app. That means you can watch games on the move within the UK or from abroad, using a VPN.
Watch the Europa League live in 4K
BT Sport comes in 4K if you’re hooked up to the BT Sport Ultra HD channel, but you’ll need to be a BT TV and BT Super Fast Fibre broadband user to get it. Ultra HD is not available on the Sky TV platform.
The situation is better for Virgin Media customers, though. You can enjoy all five BT Sports channels including BT Sport Ultra HD on channel 555.
Sign up to this pack and you’ll get everything BT has to offer. There’s the 4K-enabled box with 300 hours of recording space, 55 premium HD channels and 4K sports access too. The price includes line rental and it comes with a £80 gift card too. Not bad.View Deal
The BT Sport Collection on Virgin Media is a £18 bolt-on, at the time of writing. It brings coverage of football, rugby, cricket, UFC and more, plus access to BT Sport Ultra HD for 4K viewing. You can cancel the subscription at any time.View Deal
For 4K sports on BT TV, it’s a case of upgrading or purchasing the Max 4K package, which will cost you £20 a month to add to an existing BT subscription, or £54.99 for the full shebang if you’re a new customer starting from scratch.
Those on Virgin Media will need the Virgin V6 box and a 4K TV to make sure they're getting the action at maximum resolution. With the basic Big Bundle, BT Sport is £18 per month but all five BT Sport channels, including Ultra HD, are included on the larger TV packages which start at £57 per month. More details on Virgin Media TV bundles.
Watch the Europa League live the USA
UEFA Europa League fans in the States are lucky enough to be able to watch some of the European football action free on Spanish language network Univision. The rest, you’ll have to pay for and the rights are shared out between Univision Deportes Network and Turner Sports.
Take a look at the schedules on their website to work how to follow your favourite team, and don’t forget to use a VPN if you’re watching from abroad.
Europa League fixtures
The schedule for the knock-out stages of the 2019/20 Europa League is as follows:
First leg: 20th February
Second leg: 27th February
First leg: 12th March
Second leg: 19th March
First leg: 9th April
Second leg: 16th April
First leg: 30th April
Second leg: 7th May
27th May, 2020, at the at Stadion Energa, Gdańsk