Last season’s introduction of the Europa Conference League has undeniably been beneficial for the lower echelons of European football.
The 2022/23 campaign’s competition (including qualifying rounds) has featured clubs from a whopping 54 associations and, while we can’t claim to have followed Lithuanian outfit Valmiera’s 5-2 aggregate defeat to Macedonian side Shkendija in the second qualifying round too closely, it’s undoubtedly brilliant to see these teams compete in European competition.
The first port of call after the group stage are the knockout play-offs, with 16 teams vying to join the eight group winners in the last 16. Here’s all you need to know.
The draw for the Europa Conference League knockout playoffs draw will take place on Monday 7 November at 13:00 (GMT).
It will take place at UEFA headquarters, located in Nyon, Switzerland.
Eight teams have earned the right to avoid slogging through a play-off, having finish top of their groups in the 2022.23 Europa Conference League. Those teams are:
Much like the Europa League, the knockout phase will be beefed up by some competitors dropping down a rung on the intercontinental football pyramid.
One potential bout stands out, with the possibility of Fiorentina and Braga shaping up against each other.
Europa League group runners-up
Europa League group third-placed teams
The eight runners-up from the Europa Conference League groups will be seeded in the draw, being while the sides that finished third in their respective Europa League groups are unseeded.
The subsequent draw is as you’d expect, pulling balls out of bowls to determine the match-ups.
The seeded sides will all host the second legs of these ties, while no two teams from the same Association can be drawn against each other – eliminating the possibility of a very interesting-looking battle between Fiorentina and Lazio.
The first legs of the 2022/23 Europa Conference League knockout play-offs will take place on 16 February, with the second legs scheduled for the 23 February.