The round of 32 in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League gets underway this Thursday, 20th February 2020. This stage of the competition sees 8 teams who dropped out of the group phase of the Champions League join 24 other clubs who qualified for the next round.
Many tasty ties are on offer in you second-tier competition. Here are matches to look for in the knockout round of the Europa League.
1. Manchester United vs. Club Brugge KV
The Red Devils have had an up and down season so far, but will be aiming to progress into the next round as they seek another gong in Europe. Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s men didn’t overly impress in the group stage despite the fact that they finished top of their group. The recent acquisitions of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo in the January transfer window have boosted their ranks. They will be hoping for improved performance when they take on their plucky Belgian opponents. Brugge had a decent run in the group phase of the Champions League despite failing to advance to the next stage. They have decent talents at their disposal like South Africa’s Percy Tau and Nigerian Bonaventure Dennis. Man United will do well to avoid an upset.
2. Arsenal FC vs. Olympiacos FC
The Greek side are no strangers to the Gunners who have encountered them a couple of times over the years in the Champions League as well as Europa competition. The Arsenal will be hoping to continue their rejuvenation under Coach Mikel Arteta as they seek their 2nd ever European trophy.
3. Getafe CF vs. AFC Ajax
Last year’s surprise champions league semi-finalists Ajax Amsterdam have a tricky tie to navigate as they go up against Spanish challengers Getafe. The Dutch champions were unlucky to drop out of this season’s champions league at the group stage. They will be hoping to put away that disappointment as they attempt to go far in the Europa League.
4. Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. FC Porto
The Germans had a campaign to forget in the Champions League, which they will be hoping to rectify in the Europa League. Standing in their way, however, are Portuguese heavy hitters Porto who are no slouches themselves. The 2011 Europa league winners have a rich pedigree in the club competition as they attempt to add to their trophy cabinet.
5. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC vs. RCD Espanyol
Wolves have been enjoying their European campaign so far this season. They posted great performances which saw them finish second in their group in their first outing in the Europa League. They will be hoping to keep this fairy-tale run going, but on their way stands La Liga side Espanyol. The Catalans could yet prove to be difficult adversaries for the English first-timers.