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As they say change is a good thing, and you’ll really need to run with that for this season’s Europa League as the creation of the Europa Conference League has had serious consequences on the second-tier competition.
Okay, serious might be an exaggeration but we’ve got 32 teams taking part in the group stage – down from the previous 48 – while the first knockout round will see the group winners going straight to the last 16, with the eight runners-up facing the Champions League third-placed sides.
With six matchdays and repeat hearings of the banger that is the Europa League anthem, there’s plenty to look forward to. But which teams are the favourites with Paddy’s traders to lift the trophy at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville next May?
Group A: Lyon, Rangers, Sparta Prague, Brondby
Group B: Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad, Sturm Graz
Group C: Napoli, Leicester, Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw
Group D: Olympiakos, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Antwerp
Group E: Lazio, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Galatasaray
Group F: Braga, Red Star Belgrade, Ludogorets, Midtjylland
Group G: Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic, Real Betis, Ferencvaros
Group H: Dinamo Zagreb, Genk, West Ham, Rapid Vienna
Leicester (14/1) are vying for favouritism with Serie A giants Napoli (14/1) ahead of matchday one. The Foxes topped their group in last season’s competition before crashing out to Slavia Prague in the round of 32.
West Ham (16/1) – along with La Liga outfit Real Sociedad (16/1) – are next in the betting, with David Moyes eyeing a lengthy tour of the continent to build on last season’s impressive Premier League campaign.
Scotland are also represented in the group stage. Rangers (50/1) will fancy their chances in Group A but Celtic (66/1) face a challenge to progress from Group G alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis.
Europa League Winner Odds
The rest of Paddy Power’s Europa League Winner market is priced from 33/1 to 150/1.
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