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What to watch out for in the UEFA Europa League

There are only six more round of 32 berths available via the UEFA Europa League group stage; who will grab those lifelines on Matchday 6?

With so much football condensed into every Matchnight, get an idea of what is to come when the group stage concludes on 10 December.

Group A: Young Boys vs CFR Cluj (18:55 CET), CSKA Sofia vs Roma (18:55 CET)
Group B: Dundalk vs Arsenal (18:55 CET), Rapid Wien vs Molde (18:55 CET)
Group C: Leverkusen vs Slavia Praha (18:55 CET), Hapoel Beer-Sheva vs Nice (18:55 CET)
Group D: Standard Liège vs Benfica (18:55 CET), Lech Poznań vs Rangers (18:55 CET)
Group E: PSV Eindhoven vs Omonoia (18:55 CET), PAOK vs Granada (18:55 CET)
Group F: Napoli vs Real Sociedad (18:55 CET), Rijeka vs AZ Alkmaar (18:55 CET)
Group G: Braga vs Zorya Luhansk (21:00 CET), Leicester vs AEK Athens (21:00 CET)
Group H: Celtic vs LOSC Lille (21:00 CET), Sparta Praha vs AC Milan (21:00 CET)
Group I: Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs Sivasspor (21:00 CET)
Group J: Tottenham vs Royal Antwerp (21:00 CET), Ludogorets vs LASK (21:00 CET)
Group K: Dinamo Zagreb vs CSKA Moskva (21:00 CET), Wolfsberg vs Feyenoord (21:00 CET)
Group L: Hoffenheim vs Gent (21:00 CET), Slovan Liberec vs Crvena zvezda (21:00 CET)

Match of the week: Napoli vs Real Sociedad

Even with ten points on the board, Napoli are not safe, circumstances conspiring to make their final Group F game a real nail-biter, which may demand the best of key men like Napoli’s Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne. A 1-1 draw at AZ Alkmaar last time out – coupled with Real Sociedad’s unexpected 2-2 at home to eliminated Rijeka – means that the Partenopei and La Real come into Matchday 6 knowing that the Dutch side could deny either of them a place in the round of 32.

Napoli scrambled a 1-0 win in San Sebastian in the teams’ first encounter, but La Real boss Imanol Alguacil is confident his troops can reverse that result in Italy. “This team can go face-to-face with any side and we are going to Italy to win,” he said. “If we play as well against them as we did at the Anoeta, I am sure we can do it.” Gennaro Gattuso, meanwhile, knows his men were off-colour against AZ: “It wasn't a great performance, we made a lot of mistakes.” They can ill afford any more.

Worth pointing out

• Plenty of other sides are battling for round of 32 places on Matchday 6, but drama fans may prefer to focus on the two ties that – rather like Napoli vs Real Sociedad – are straight knockouts: Rapid Wien vs Molde and Wolfsberg vs Feyenoord.

• Group K winners Dinamo Zagreb host eliminated CSKA Moskva looking to set a new UEFA record as the first club to make it through a whole UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League group stage without conceding a single goal. Steaua Bucureşti, Middlesbrough (both 2005/06) and Metalist Kharkiv (2008/09) survived UEFA Cup group stages without conceding, but those campaigns were only four-games long.

• LOSC Lille are back on the road on Matchday 6, the Group H leaders visiting eliminated Celtic. Worth noting: this autumn, LOSC forward Yusuf Yazıci has become the first player to score hat-tricks in two away matches in a single UEFA club competition campaign. Can he make it three?

• Arsenal can equal the 2012/13 Tottenham team in winning all six of their group stage games in a single campaign as they travel to Dundalk. The Irish champions, Gent and Ludogorets, meanwhile, are seeking to avoid ending the campaign with a sixth straight defeat.

Source: UEFA 

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