FOOTBALL – After losing 3-0 to Bayern, Barcelona failed to reach the final 16 of the Champions League. So, for the first time in 17years, Xavi and his Barcelona team find themselves in the Europa League.
Their last match in the competition was in 2004 against Celtic where they lost 1-0 on aggregate. The Europa League may bring back some painful memories for Xavi and Laporta, as Xavi played in that match and Laporta was the president of Barcelona. Furthermore, Henrik Larssen who played for Celtic in that game is now Xavi´s number 2 at Barcelona.
Europa League knockouts
The Europa League knockouts will take place between 17-24 February. The knockout rounds will include the eight teams that finished second in the Europa League group stages and the eight teams that were third in the Champions League group stages.
Barcelona will find out tomorrow (Monday) at 1.30 pm who their Europa League opponents will be. The first leg will be played at Camp Nou on February 17 with the return leg on February 24 at the other team´s ground.
There are rules as to which teams they can and cannot play against. This would include teams from the same domestic league such as Real Sociedad and Real Betis. However, they could face Rangers, Napoli, Olympiacos, Lazio, Braga, or Dinamo Zagreb.
The final 16
The teams already through to the last 16 of the Europa League are; West Ham, Lyon, Monaco, Spartak Moscow, Eintracht Frankfurt, Galatasaray, Red Star Belgrade, and Bayer Leverkusen.
Should Barcelona win on aggregate from their games on February 17 and 24, they will be entered into the draw for the final 16. This will take place on February 25. As the teams are whittled down, the final will take place on May 18 in Sevilla.
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