Europa League and Conference League permutations: West Ham, Brighton, Liverpool and Aston Villa are all through – but there's still plenty to play for in the final round of group stage fixtures!
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Europa League and Conference League permutations: West Ham, Brighton, Liverpool and Aston Villa are all through – but there's still plenty to play for in the final round of group stage fixtures!

Dec 20, 2023

This Thursday, the final round of Europa League and Europa Conference League matches will take place – with plenty to play for. 

In the Europa League, the likes of West Ham, Brighton and Liverpool will return to action – with the Reds’ place in the knockout rounds confirmed.

West Ham and Brighton are also guaranteed to progress from the group stage however their placement in the group is still yet to be decided. 

Meanwhile, Unai Emery‘s Aston Villa will get back to action in the Conference League where they will look to finalise their place at the top of the group. 

Here, Mail Sport takes a look at the possible permutations for this week’s European fixtures. 

Premier League clubs will be returning to action to Europa League and Europa Conference League action on Thursday night

Premier League clubs will be returning to action to Europa League and Europa Conference League action on Thursday night 

West Ham are among the teams that will be looking to finalise top spot in their groups

West Ham are among the teams that will be looking to finalise top spot in their groups

GROUP A – West Ham, Freiburg, Olympiacos, TSC Backa Topola

In truth, there’s not that much to play for in Group A. After dominant performances, both West Ham and Freiburg have guaranteed a place in the next round. 

The English and German sides sit level on points (12) – with the latter boasting a goal difference eight better than the Hammers. 

However, both teams will be playing to earn top spot in the group as they look to avoid a play-off game with one of the expelled teams from the Champions League. 

Meanwhile, Olympiacos sit three points ahead of Backa Topola and boast a better goal difference – making it likely they’ll secure third spot and head to the Conference League. 

GROUP B – Marseille, Brighton, Ajax, AEK Athens

Once again, there’s not much up for grabs in Group B – with Marseille and Brighton already guaranteed to go through. 

However, similarly to Group A, the French and English side will still be competing to finish top of the group – with just one point currently separating them. 

The final round of fixtures, however, will see the two sides face-off against one another, giving them both the opportunity to claim top spot. 

Meanwhile, AEK Athens lead Ajax by two points in the group – meaning that the winner of their game will head into the Europa Conference League. 

Brighton will need a victory in their final game to take top spot in Group B

Brighton will need a victory in their final game to take top spot in Group B

GROUP C – Real Betis, Rangers, Sparta Prague, Aris Limassol

One of the more intriguing groups remaining in the competition.

With just two points separating the top three teams – with Aris Limassol cast adrift with a measly four points – there’s plenty to play for in Group C. 

Scottish giants Rangers will be eager to get to the next round but will know that their clash with top of the group Betis will be a tough challenge. 

GROUP D – Atalanta, Sporting Lisbon, Sturm Graz, Rakow Czestochowa

Once again, a lot has already been settled in this group.

Atalanta and Sporting have already qualified – it’s just a question as to which team will finish first and second.

The Italian side have a three-point advantage over Lisbon and also boast a goal difference three better than the Portuguese giants. 

Meanwhile, Sturm Graz and Rakow Czestochowa are level on points (four) heading into the final game of the group.

GROUP E – Liverpool, Toulouse, Union St.Gilloise, LASK

Jurgen Klopp’s side have stormed Group E and have a guaranteed place in the knockout rounds of the competition. 

Their 12 points puts them four ahead of second-place Toulouse – who have a three-point lead ahead of Union Saint-Gilloise. 

The French side can guarantee a place in the play-off rounds if they either draw or beat LASK – who will be gunning for that third placed spot. 

Liverpool have guaranteed top place in their group after their dominant performances

Liverpool have guaranteed top place in their group after their dominant performances

GROUP F – Rennes, Villarreal, Panathinaikos, Maccabi Haifa

Again, most of the important aspects in this group have already been decided. 

Rennes and Villarreal will take the top two spots – with their order set to be decided after they play eachother on Thursday night. 

Meanwhile, Panathinaikos and Maccabi Haifa have just two points separating them – meaning that either side could be heading to the Conference League. 

GROUP G – Slavia Prague, Roma, Servette, FC Sheriff

We’re beginning to sound like a broken record here but, once again, the majority of things have already been sorted in this group.

Slavia Prague and Roma will take the top two spots with just two points separating them heading into the final round of fixtures. 

Meanwhile, Servette are guaranteed to be heading to the Conference League while FC Sheriff will be sent home. 

GROUP H –  Bayer Leverkusen, Qarabag FK, Molde, Hacken

It might not come as a surprise, given their impressive domestic form, but Bayer Leverkusen have stormed their group. 

Xabi Alonso’s side are guaranteed top place – while Qarabag and Molde will be battling it out for the final spot in the next round. 

The two teams are tied on seven points but the Norwegian outfit have the difficult task of facing the Bundesliga leaders. 

Bayer Leverkusen have impressed both domestically and in Europe

Bayer Leverkusen have impressed both domestically and in Europe

GROUP A – Lille, Slovan Bratislava, Klaksvik, Olimpija Ljubljana

Moving into the Conference League groups and, once again, a lot has been decided already. 

Lille and Slovan Bratislava are the top two teams in the group with the French side leading by just one point. 

Meanwhile, Klaksvi and Olimpija Ljubljana will be sent out of the competition – with nothing getting awarded to third place in these groups. 

GROUP B – Gent, Zorya, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Breidablik

Another group where the fate for most the teams has already been sealed. 

Maccabi Tel Aviv and Gent will qualify for the next stage however the order in which they qualify is still yet to be decided – given they are separated by just a point. 

Meanwhile, Zoya and Breidablik will be eliminated. 

GROUP C – Viktoria Plzen, Ballkani, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Astana

One of the more intriguing groups remaining in the competition. 

Viktoria Plzen – who typically compete in the Champions League – have stormed the group and are guaranteed to top the table. 

However, all three of the remaining teams can clinch second place in the group – with just two points separating second and fourth. 

French side Lille are only top of the table by one point - meaning they need a win on Thursday

French side Lille are only top of the table by one point – meaning they need a win on Thursday

GROUP D – Club Brugge, Bodo/Glimt, Lugano, Besiktas

Belgian side Club Brugge have won four out of their five matches in the group stage this year, putting them three points clear at the top of the group.

Bodo/Glimt are currently second and cannot be overtaken – guaranteeing them a place in the next round. 

That means for Lugano and Besiktas, they’ll be heading out of the competition. The Turkish giants will be particularly disappointed after picking up just one point. 

GROUP E – Aston Villa, Legia Warsaw, AZ, Zrinjski Mostar

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa have brought their impressive domestic form to Europe with them this year and have walked through their Europa Conference League group.

They currently sit top – by three points – but could still qualify second if Legia Warsaw win their match against AZ on Thursday. 

Warsaw claimed victory over Villa in the opening round of fixtures meaning – if they were level on points – the Polish side would progress. 

Unfortunately, there’s no chance of progression for the likes of AZ and Zrinjski Mostar.

GROUP F – Fiorentina, Genk, Ferencvaros, Cukaricki

Another group where there’s a lot to play for heading into the final round of fixtures. 

Fiorentina are guaranteed to go through however their place in the group is far from confirmed.

Ferencvaros are just two points behind and can leapfrog the Italian side with a victory over them on Thursday night. 

However, if Ferencvaros lose and Genk win (and achieve a better goal difference) then they will qualify second in the group. 

Cukaricki, on the other hand, are already down and out having failed to pick up a single point thus far.

Aston Villa will try to avoid finishing second in their group on Thursday night

Aston Villa will try to avoid finishing second in their group on Thursday night

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GROUP G – PAOK, Frankfurt, Aberdeen, HJK

 In Group G, PAOK have marched to the top of the table and are the only undefeated team remaining in the group. 

Their place in the next round of fixtures is already confirmed, given they’re four points ahead of second-placed Frankfurt. 

Aberdeen and HJK – who sit on three and two points respectively – will be eliminated from the competition.  

GROUP H – Nordsjaelland, Ludogorets, Fenerbahçe, Spartak Trnava

A rare occasion where the teams at the top of the group are separated by a very fine margin. 

Nordsjaelland, Ludogorets and Fenerbahce are separated by just a point – meaning any two of the three could go through.

However, Nordsjælland and Ludogorets will face eachother meaning that, if they both wanted to progress, they would have to draw and hope that Fenerbahçe are beaten by Spartak Trnava. 

If the Turkish giants manage to beat their opponents and the other match is a draw, then they will qualify top of the group. 

Unfortunately for Spartak Trnava – who sit on just one point – there is no chance of progression. 

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