What will be the headlines on Thursday night when the first UEFA Europa Conference League group stage comes to a close?
In the UEFA Europa Conference League’s inaugural group stage competition, none of the big clubs have had it all their own way, creating tension until the final night.

What are some things to keep an eye on?

Tottenham Hot Spurs are on the verge of relegation.

“This is a devastating loss for us,” new Tottenham manager Antonio Conte stated following his side’s 2-1 setback at Mura on Matchday 5, but things may easily get worse when Spurs host Group G champions Rennes on Saturday. The Premier League club now leads third-placed Vitesse on goal differential, but even a narrow victory could not be enough to put them through if Vitesse scores a flurry of goals at home against Mura.

Tottenham’s match against Rennes on Matchday 1 ended 2-2, and the French side is one of eight sides yet to lose in this season’s group round. “We’re sad, angry, and we have to learn from this,” Harry Kane said after the north Londoners’ humiliation in Slovenia.


Union Berlin is preparing for the ‘final’ against Slavia Praha.

Union Berlin had a difficult start in their first UEFA group stage match against Slavia Praha, with a red card and two late goals leading to a 3-1 loss on Matchday 1. Urs Fischer’s men have been set up for a dramatic rematch with the Czech champions after a 1-0 triumph at Maccabi Haifa last time out. Union will advance at Slavia’s cost if they defeat them in Berlin.

Union’s win over Maccabi Haifa was not particularly impressive, and their last home game in Group E ended with two dismissals and a 2-1 loss to section-toppers Feyenoord, but Fischer prefers to focus on facts rather than performances after his side earned the win they needed in Israel: “We did it – and now we have this final at home.”

Partizan is tense, while PAOK is chasing Slovan.

Gent are guaranteed to finish first in Group B, but Partizan‘s hold on second place is looser than they might have thought as they host Anorthosis Famagusta in their final match. With a win in Belgrade, the Cypriot side might take the runners-up spot, while Flora – presently in last place – has a chance to sneak in on the inside rail if they defeat Gent.

On the last day, there will be nervous faces in Group F as Slovan and PAOK compete for second place. Copenhagen, who are already qualified, will host the Slovak squad, who are second in the section, one goal ahead of Salonika-based PAOK. A Slovan victory might not be enough if Răzvan Lucescu’s team wins heavily at home against Lincoln Red Imps.

What’s next?

• Rennes’ Gatan Laborde, a summer move from Montpellier, has been the UEFA Europa Conference League’s top scorer so far, with five goals to go one ahead of Tottenham’s Kane and Roma’s Tammy Abraham, among others. Will he be in contention for the top scorer award at the end of the season?

• The knockout round play-offs will be drawn on December 13th, with the eight UEFA Europa Conference League runners-up matched with the eight UEFA Europa League third-placed teams. In the round of 16 draw on February 25, the winners of those two-legged encounters will join the eight UEFA Europa Conference League group stage winners.

Thursday, December 9th fixtures.

Group A: Alashkert vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv, LASK vs HJK Helsinki
Group B: Gent vs Flora Tallinn, Partizan vs Anorthosis Famagusta
Group C: CSKA-Sofia vs Roma, Zorya Luhansk vs Bodø/Glimt
Group D: CFR Cluj vs Jablonec, AZ Alkmaar vs Randers
Group E: Feyenoord vs Maccabi Haifa, Union Berlin vs Slavia Praha
Group F: Copenhagen vs Slovan Bratislava, PAOK vs Lincoln Red Imps
Group G: Tottenham vs Rennes, Vitesse vs Mura
Group H: Omonoia vs Kairat Almaty, Basel vs Qarabağ


SOURCE: Uefa.com

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