Tottenham Hotspur Keeping One Eye on Champions League

Tottenham, Jose Mourinho (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP) (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham, Jose Mourinho (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP) (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /

With advancement in Europa League secured, Tottenham have one eye on the Champions League and the 8 teams coming down to complete the field of 32.

José Mourinho has made it clear he is not a fan of the rule, but it is what it is. Each year, the third-place teams from each of the eight Champions League Groups are inclusion in the final 32 of the Europa League. This season some big names may be joining the competition as Manchester United and Real Madrid may face the drop, and join Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League.

Who is in the Final 32?

The final 32 teams in the Europa League come from the 24 first and second place teams in each of the 12 Groups as well as the 8 teams that are ‘relegated’ from the Champions League. Those 32 teams then participate in home-and-home matches to determine who moves on. With 32 teams at this stage compared to only 16 in the Champions League there are at extra games for team already facing packed schedules. So, who are the known teams at this point?

Four of the twelve groups have been decided already before matchday six begins. Dinamo Zagreb (Group K), Villarreal (Group I), Arsenal (Group B), and Roma (Group A) are all assured of winning their respective groups. That means 8 other Groups, including Group J with Tottenham Hotspur are up for grabs.

The fact that we do not know who is winning eight of the groups at this point has little bearing on who is going to advance, because in seven of the 12 groups, both teams are known. While all seven of those groups are yet to be decided, the 14 teams coming from the Groups (C, D, E, G, H, J, and L) are known.

In fact, only one group, Group F is fully up for grabs, as any of the three teams Napoli, Real Sociedad, or AZ could still win the group. All told at this point we know 22 of the 24 teams advancing in Europa League, we just do not know which will be in which pot for the draw.

Who Is Coming Down from UCL?

While we should technically know four of the eight teams coming down from the Champions League, we only know three. Manchester United will have to wait an additional 24 hours to learn their fate after the PSG, Istanbul Basaksehir game was stopped in progress. Apparently, the fourth official was being racist, and the game was halted.

While Manchester United waits to see if PSG can earn at least 1 point against Istanbul and send them packing for Europa League the other three new entrants are known. Dynamo Kyiv are joining from Group J where Juventus and Barcelona toped the group. Club Brugge is joining from Group F after only pulling off a tie with Lazio on matchday six. Finally, FK Krasnodar is coming from Group E, where Chelsea and perennial Europa League winner Sevilla are advancing.

Overall, apart from possibly United – who Spurs could NOT face in the round of 32 – these are not teams that keep you up at night. However, the teams that join from Wednesday’s matches may be a different story. In Group A, either Atletico Madrid or FC Red Bull Salzburg are likely joining the Europa League fray – although Lokomotiv Moscow could sneak in, such is the competitiveness of Group A after Bayern.

In Group B, the real monster Real Madrid must beat Borussia Monchengladbach to avoid finishing third in the group. Group B is so close, there is a scenario where Madrid finish last in the group with Inter leapfrogging them for second and Shakhatar Donetsk taking third based on their head-to-head performance against Real. Anything can still happen there, so please do not book tickets to Madrid yet.

In Group C we know either Olympiakos or Marseille will be joining the Europa League and in Group D, the loser of the Ajax v Atalanta match will be coming on down. If Ajax were to make the drop, I am sure some folks would be hoping to see a return to Amsterdam and other might not.

The bottom line is Tottenham will have one eye on the matches tomorrow to see what happens. The reality is Spurs are not afraid of anyone and if they take care of business against Royal Antwerp, they will top the group and avoid the top 19 teams left in the competition, including all 8 from the Champions League. It will be interesting to see, but what we do know is regardless of who does or does not enter the competition, Tottenham just need to keep winning one game at a time, if they are going to win the Europa League, like HotspurHQ predicted.

Teams Assured a Place in Europa League Final 32

Group A


Group B


Group C

Slavia Prague and Bayern Leverkusen

Group D

Rangers and Benfica

Group E

Granada CF and PSV

Group G

Leicester City and Sporting Braga

Group H

Lile and AC Milan

Group I


Group J

Royal Antwerp & Tottenham Hotspur

Group K

Dinamo Zagreb

Group L

Hoffenheim and Crvena Zvezda

From Champions League

FK Krasnodar

Club Brugge

Dynamo Kyiv