Tottenham Hotspur Learn Europa League Fate After Draw

Tottenham (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Tottenham (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Tottenham finally knows their Europa League fate

Tottenham Hotspur finally qualified for the Group Stages of Europa League and did not have to wait long to discover their foes, as UEFA completed the Europa League Draw. Making the competition was incredibly important for Tottenham Hotspur from both a calendar and financial perspective as the growing squad needs games to settle and the club needs money to cover the growing expenses.

To this end, Tottenham Hotspur already have three victories in Europa League, but those victories mean little if the team cannot advance beyond a very winnable group stage and move on in the competition. So how was the draw for Spurs?

Avoiding the Group of Death

In most years, the concern for teams during a group drawn is being drawn into the so-called Group of Death. In the Champions League – Europa’s bigger more lucrative brother – it was much more likely for Tottenham to end up in a strong group. Given the role of Club Coefficients, Tottenham was often in the lower “Pots” in the Champions League draw.

However, in this year’s Europa League Spurs had the second-highest coefficient – somehow behind Arsenal – meaning Spurs were going to be in the Top Pot and have a much lower likelihood of facing any giants. Then again there are not that many giants in Europa League, so the odds were lower to begin with. That said, top pot teams Roma and Celtic must be feeling a bit more hard done than Arsenal or Tottenham at this point.

There are 12 groups labeled A-L for the Europa League and according to the fan voting on Europa’s site, Groups H and A are the two toughest. Group A is headlined by Roma, who are joined by Young Boys, CFR Cluj, and CSKA Sofia and is currently considered the second toughest receiving 20% of the vote. Group H, is led by Celtic, but also has Sparta Praha, AC Milan, and LOSC Lile; maybe it is the glean of the names in the group, but more than 30% of the fans see H as the Group of Death. Alternatively, both Spurs and Arsenal’s Groups have received only 4% of the vote.

Tottenham’s Group J

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Tottenham Hotspur avoided the Group of Death, so what did they end up with. Spurs were put into a group that includes Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp.

Interestingly despite all the games in Europe for both club and coach, neither Tottenham Hotspur the club, nor Jose Mourinho the coach has ever faced any of the three opponents drawn to Spurs.

PFC Ludogorets 1945 should be a team that will have a familiar feel to it, as they are the reigning League Champions of the Bulgarian A League, which is where Spurs qualifying opponent Lokomodiv Plovdiv hail from.

Ludogorets qualified having won a single playoff qualifier after being beaten in the second round of Champions League qualifying and receiving a buy to the Europa League playoff.

Linser Athletic-Sport-Klub or LASK advanced from the 3rd Round qualifying as an unseeded team to make the Group Stages. LASK come from the Austrian Bundesliga which should sound familiar to Spurs fans as that is the same league where FC Salzburg run riot. After the performances of the Red Bulls last season, teams from Austria should not be overlooked.

Royal Antwerp FC from Belgium is the final team in Spurs group. Antwerp is currently in the middle of the Belgian First League, where fans might be more familiar with Club Brugge who is often the league’s representative in Europe. This season Antwerp was an automatic qualifier for Europa League having won last year’s Belgian Cup, similar to England’s FA Cup.

Ultimately, Tottenham have to be the huge favorites coming into this group. Spurs are currently ranked 12th by UEFA, whereas Ludogorets is 61st, LASK is 90th, and Royal Antwerp is ranked 162nd. In the end these rankings mean nothing, which is why we play the game, however as a Tottenham fan, you have to feel good about Spurs chances to advance as the top seed from Group J.