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A road to the Champions League and a league with a variety of clubs from around Europe, the Europa League books its spot, on Thursdays, every week. Prior to 1991, there were UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup. In 1999, the two merged into UEFA Cup. The Europa League didn't get its current name until the 2009-10 season.
The format is similar to the Champions League. Twelve groups of four teams will feature in the group stage. A team will face the other teams within the group twice, once at home and at away. The group winners and runners-up will advance to the knockout phase. Eight third-placed clubs from the Champions League group stage will join the Europa League in the last-16. Each knockout stage is conducted in two legs, one game at home and the other at away.
The final consists of a single game and the winner will automatically qualify for the next year's Champions League regardless of its finishing position in the domestic league. Winners of the domestic cups like the FA Cup will also enter the group stage.
Sevilla is the club with the most Europa League wins, at six. Marseille and Benfica are the least fortunate clubs losing in the final thrice, each. In the last season, Villarreal stunned Manchester United to win the trophy.
Being the second-tier competition since its birth, Europa League is more interesting than the Champions League. It’s not easy to judge the winner even in the final stages of the competition. Any club with an underdog tag but brilliant football can break the bones of a wealthy club any day. From this season, Europa Conference League will recognize competent yet unrecognized clubs from the corners of Europe. ECL will serve as the third-tier competition in an already packed schedule.