The first knockout round of the Europa League is done and dusted, and we’re now left with 16 teams who are ready to battle it out for European supremacy.
Among those 16 sides are some of the planet’s biggest names and plenty of lovable underdogs, but there can only be one winner when all is said and done.
Here’s all 16 remaining sides ranked by their chances of winning the whole thing.
16. İstanbul Başakşehir
Their team is made up of Martin Škrtel,
Rangers surprised many by emerging victorious against Braga last time out. It’s clear that Steven Gerrard’s men are good, but are they winning-the-Europa-League good?
They’re capable of causing a scare or two along the way, but a meeting with any of the competition’s big boys will probably be too much for them.
Just because you’ve never heard of LASK, that doesn’t automatically make them rubbish. They’re not great, but they’re certainly not bad.
Having said that, it would be perhaps the biggest shock of all time if they won the Europa League. They’ve done great to get this far, but this could be where the fun stops.
Copenhagen will be favourites to come out on top in their last 16 clash with
Having overcome Arsenal in the last round, Europe will have taken notice of Olympiacos this year. They’ve obviously got something about them.
However, they will now come up against Wolverhampton Wanderers – a Premier League side who aren’t determined to implode at every given opportunity. Will that be too much for them? Probably.
There’s no denying that the Swiss side have plenty of quality, but they simply don’t have enough to swim with the big fish.
Fortunately for Getafe, they’re no weaker in this half of the season as they still have striker Ángel Rodríguez. Barcelona chose to rob Leganés of Martin Braithwaite instead, so Getafe still have some sort of a chance.
Unfortunately for Getafe, they’re not actually that good. Hard bastards though.
Wolfsburg are one of those sides who, on their day, could come out on top against pretty much anyone. Unfortunately, that day doesn’t come often enough.
They’re a solid side who will be confident of moving a little further in the competition, and them winning the whole thing isn’t too outlandish, but don’t expect to see them lifting the trophy this summer.
8. Shakhtar Donetsk
There’s some real quality in this Shakhtar Donetsk side. The likes of Taison, Marlos and Ismaily are good enough to feature for most teams in Europe, but this team is just missing a certain je ne sais quoi.
A place in the later stages of the Europa League will be their goal, and hey, they could even go all the way. Unfortunately, there are some big teams left who will be confident of going even further.
7. Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt are certainly missing the impact of a certain
Now we’re getting into the real contenders. While certainly not the best team left, Roma are more than good enough to hold their own against any of the other teams still in the competition.
Their squad is bursting with pace and power, although if we’re being hypercritical, the quality isn’t always there. Left-back
However, with Chris Smalling at the back, anything is possible!
5. Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and even Borussia Dortmund have been trying to pull away from the pack in the Bundesliga this season, but Bayer Leverkusen simply won’t go away.
In Kai Havertz, Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby, they have some of the most exciting attacking options around, so they will be feeling good about their chances at a deep run this year, but they will likely fall once they come up against a top, top side.
Realistically, Sevilla should be top of this list – nobody knows how to win the Europa League quite like them.
Their success might have disappeared in recent years, but this is still a really dangerous side. Sevilla are one of Spain’s finest, and they’re the kind of team everyone will want to avoid.
3. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Nuno Espiríto Santos’ Wolves are all about upsetting the odds. They have taken scalp after scalp, and it’s got to a point where they actually have to be viewed as one of the strongest sides left in the competition.
They’re exciting and well organised, and they won’t be scared of facing anyone. However, there is still some work to do before they are considered as an outright favourite.
2. Manchester United
A good Manchester United side should be in the final of the Europa League. While there’s no denying that they aren’t as strong as they used to be, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men remain a major threat to everyone.
They could beat any of Europe’s best teams, but then go and lose to some of the worst just days later, and that inconsistency could stop them from lifting the trophy.
Inter have been one of Europe’s best sides this season, so they fact they are playing in the Europa League comes as a real surprise. They’re good enough for a deep run in the Champions League, let alone a push for Europa League glory.
A spot in the final will be the least Antonio Conte expects of this side, but they will fancy their chances of lifting the trophy when all is said and done.
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