After being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona will soon know their fate as they enter the Europa League qualifying tournament.
Barcelona will join Spanish side Betis, Real Sociedad, and Sevilla, in a European second-tier tournament, with a new format for the 2021/22 season.
The new Europa League knockout rounds will see the team winners all win in the Round of 16, namely Lyon, Monaco, Spartak Moscow, Eintracht Frankfurt, Galatasaray, Red Star, Bayer Leverkusen, and West Ham.
That way we will see the teams that drop out of the Champions League against the top two teams in their Europa League group that goes into Round 16.
Rangers, Real Sociedad, Napoli, Olympiacos, Lazio, Braga, Betis, and Dinamo Zagreb will start as undefeated teams and will play the second leg of the play-off leg at home on February 24, 2022.
The first leg will be played on February 17, 2022, when RB Leipzig, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff Tiraspol, Barcelona, Atalanta, Sevilla, and Zenit are home teams.
Groups to avoid
As is our custom in UEFA to draw, teams from one country cannot face each other, so Barcelona cannot be linked with Betis, Sevilla, or Real Sociedad.
Barcelona, and Sevilla, are likely to pull on Napoli or Lazio, which could be the couple’s toughest rivals, with Ranger, Olympiacos, Braga, and Dinamo Zagreb set to face uncontrollable opposition.
Things look very bad for Betis and Real Sociedad as they can face Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund, while RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Porto, or Zenit all represent a tough draw. The sheriff can be very desirable.