FC Barcelona has the enviable position of having 16 straight seasons of not being eliminated from the group stages in UEFA Champions League matches. They failed to get the 17th season, thanks to their tormentors this past match, Bayern Munich.
For the first time in a long time, though, Barca will find themselves in the thick of the competition in the UEFA Cup, which has since been known as the Europa League. It’s where the third-placers in each group compete starting from February and it’s something the Catalans will have to re-learn playing in.
A Non-Clash of La Liga Also-Rans
While sports betting online players will have to re-assess their fortunes if they bet on Barca and lose, Xavi will know what kind of fortune his new team meets through their new opponents. Based on the fixtures of the group stage, it could possibly be Glasgow Rangers.
There are also La Liga teams with fortunes contrasting theirs. Real Sociedad and Real Betis didn’t fare too great in their own groups as well. In the Europa League group stage, these teams finished second in their respective groups, but the Catalans cannot face them.
A Fortune Out of Their Own Hands
The Catalans’ fall to the German side wasn’t the final straw in their fall to the Europa League; it was the fate of Benfica. The football score reflected Benfica’s win over Dynamo Kyiv, and the way it worked in their group stage was that they fell to third in case of a Benfica win.
The last sixteen of the Champions League will have a drastically altered look without the Catalan outfit. The last few years have Barcelona making it at least to the knockout stages. In a cruel twist of fate, Xavi was also a player when the Catalans last failed to make it into the knockout stages. The season was 2003/04, and the team managed to finish only in the sixth position.
What Fate Awaits in the Europa League
Still, that doesn’t mean that they have weak opposition in the Europa League. Aside from the Rangers, the other teams they could face off against are PSV Eindhoven, Leicester City, Spartak Moscow, Napoli, Legia Warsaw, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Olympiacos.
Then again, there’s also Galatasaray, Lazio, Red Star Belgrade, and Braga. Other 12BET sportsbook followed teams are Midtjylland, Dynamo Zagreb, as well as Genk. These are the teams that could reach the final in Seville on May 18 next year.
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