UEFA Europa League Season 2010-2011 Group Stage Preview

Ivan SoldoCorrespondent IIAugust 27, 2010

MONACO - AUGUST 27: Diego Forlan (l) of Atletico Madrid and Uruguay alongside UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino (r) during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Draw at the Grimaldi Forum on August 27, 2010 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

UEFA Europa League is the second season under a new name for the competition previously known as the UEFA Cup.

The final will be held at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on May 18, 2011.

Atletico Madrid are defending champions.

Forty-eight clubs are drawn in 12 groups: Atletico Madrid, who enter in this stage as the defending champions, the 37 winners from the play-off round, and the 10 losers from the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League play-off.

The group winners and runners-up will advance to the round of 32, where they will be joined by the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage.

These are the UEFA Europa League groups for the 2010-2011 season:

Group A

Juventus (Italy)

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Manchester City (England)

Salzburg (Austria)

Lech (Poland)

Very good group for Juventus and Manchester City, although Salzburg may surprise everybody because last year they had amazing success in the group stage. Lech will have little chance.

Prediction: 1. Juventus  2. Manchester City  3. Salzburg  4. Lech Poznan

Group B

Atletico Madrid (Spain) 

Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 

Rosenborg (Norway)

Aris (Greece) 

Defending champions Atletico Madrid should not have problems in this group. Bayer should qualify easily, but Rosenborg and Aris can be uncomfortable.

Prediction: 1. Atletico Madrid  2. Bayer Leverkusen  3. Rosenborg  4. Aris

Group C

Sporting (Portugal) 

Lille (France) 

Levski (Bulgaria) 

Gent (Belgium)

Sporting should qualify, but Lille and Levski may surprise us all. Gent doesn't have a big chance.

Prediction: 1. Lille  2. Sporting  3. Levski  4. Gent

Group D

Villarreal (Spain) 

Club Brugge (Belgium) 

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 

PAOK (Greece)

Villarreal will take this easily, although Club Brugge, Dinamo Zagreb, and even PAOK may cause upset. A very competitive group, and there will be a tough battle for second place. 

Prediction: 1. Villarreal  2. Dinamo Zagreb  3. Club Brugge  4. PAOK

Group E

AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)

Dynamo Kyiv (Netherlands)

BATE (Belarus)

Sheriff (Moldavia)

AZ is a very good team, but Dynamo Kyiv is a favorite for first place. Sheriff and BATE are the type of team that may cause a surprise.

Prediction: 1. Dynamo Kyiv  2. AZ  3. BATE  4. Sheriff

Group F

CSKA Moscow (Russia)

Palermo (Italy)

Sparta Praha (Czech Republic)

Lausanne (Switzerland)

CSKA Moscow and Palermo should go through easily. Sparta Praha and Lausanne are not that good to cause problems for them.

Prediction: 1. Palermo  2. CSKA Moscow  3. Sparta Praha  4. Lausanne

Group G

Zenit (Russia)

Anderlecht (Belgium)

AEK (Greece)

Hajduk Split (Croatia)

Zenit is a clear favorite. Anderlecht should be on second place, but the young Hajduk Split team and AEK may cause problems.

Prediction: 1. Zenit  2. Anderlecht  3. Hajduk Split  4. AEK

Group H

Stuttgart (Germany) 

Getafe (Spain) 

OB (Denmark) 

Young Boys (Switzerland) 

Stuttgart and Getafe should go through. Only Young Boys can harm them because they look like a really good team.

Prediction: 1. Stuttgart  2. Getafe  3. Young Boys  4. OB

Group I

PSV (Netherlands) 

Sampdoria (Italy) 

Metalist (Ukraine) 

Debrecen (Hungary)

PSV and Sampdoria will have the main word in this group. Metalist and Debrecen are not that dangerous to end up in the first two places.

Prediction: 1. Sampdoria  2. PSV  3. Metalist  4. Debrecen

Group J

Sevilla (Spain) 

PSG (France) 

Dortmund (Germany) 

Karpaty (Ukraine)

This is really a competitive group. Sevilla is a favorite to win this group, and PSG is going to have a big battle along with Dortmund for second place. Karpaty are kind of dangerous.

Prediction: 1. Sevilla  2. Dortmund  3. PSG  4. Karpaty

Group K

Liverpool (England) 

Steaua (Romania) 

Napoli (Italy) 

Utrecht (Netherlands)  

Liverpool has a really tough job to do. Steaua and Napoli are good teams. We can't forget about Utrecht also. Very tough job.

Prediction: 1. Liverpool  2. Napoli  3. Utrecht  4. Steaua

Group L

Porto (Portugal)

Besiktas (Turkey)

CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)

Rapid Wien (Austria)

Porto got a good group. Besiktas, CSKA Sofia, and Rapid Wien can cause surprise actually.

Prediction: 1. Porto  2. Besiktas  3. Rapid Wien  4. CSKA Sofia