Leicester City will compete in the UEFA Europa League for the second year in a row after finishing fifth in the Premier League.

The Foxes were again excruciatingly missing a spot in the Champions League when they were beaten in the top four by Chelsea and Liverpool on the final day of the 2020-21 season.

Liverpool and Chelsea will compete in Europe’s largest club competition in 2021-22, alongside champions Manchester City and runners-up Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Leicester and sixth-placed West Ham United are entering a redesigned Europa League.

Tottenham, who secured seventh place thanks to a 4-2 win at King Power Stadium, have qualified for the first Europa Conference League.

Here’s everything you need to know about Leicester’s upcoming 2021-22 Europa League campaign …

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Big changes

The introduction of the new Europa Conference League has transformed the Europa League format.

The group stage will be reduced from 48 to 32 teams – with eight groups of four.

The eight group winners automatically advance to the round of 16.

However, there will be more knockout round play-offs before the round of 16 – between the eight Europa League runners-up and the eight third-placed teams from the Champions League groups.

qualification

The qualification for the group stage has also changed and now includes 27 teams in two rounds – the third qualifying round and the play-offs.

The majority of the teams involved in qualifying will have left the Champions League and Europa Conference League, although some teams (mostly national cup winners) from the top 15 federations will start their campaign by this time.

Group stage

Twelve teams automatically qualify for the group stage – two from England, two from Spain, two from Germany, two from Italy, two from France, one from Portugal and one from Russia.

In addition, there are 10 Europa League play-off winners and 10 teams switching from the Champions League play-offs and the third qualifying round.

Which teams are involved?

Leicester and West Ham will both enter the competition in the group stage.

There are also Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Naples, Lazio, Lyon, Marseille, Braga and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Spartak Moscow, Genk, Sparta Prague and Midtjylland will also be seen in the group stage after they are eliminated from the Champions League.

The quartet were all beaten in both third round games, losing to Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco and PSV Eindhoven respectively, two of which will also end in the Europa League group stage depending on who loses in the Champions League Play off round later in the month.

Meanwhile, six teams advanced to the Europa League play-offs after losing their Champions League qualifiers, including Scottish champions Rangers who lost 4-2 to Malmo overall.

Legia Warsaw, the team of the former City winger Bartosz Kapustka, as well as CFR Cluj, Olympiacos, Roter Stern Belgrad and Slavia Prague, who recently threw City out of the competition, are also changing and hope to qualify for the Europa League -32 Stage last season.

Scottish Cup Winner St. Johnstone is among the other teams taking part in the qualifying round.

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When do the draws take place?

July 19, 2021 – Third qualifying round

August 2, 2021 – Play-off round

27 August 2021 – Group stage (if Leicester joins)

December 13, 2021 – knockout round play-offs

February 25, 2022 – Round of 16

March 18, 2022 – quarter-finals & semi-finals

Play-off draw

The draw for the third qualifying round took place on Monday 19 July at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Randers (DEN) versus Galatasaray (TUR) / St. Johnstone (SCO)

Rapid Wien (AUT) / Anorthosis Famagusta (CYP) versus Zorya Luhansk (UKR)

Jablonec (CZE) / Celtic (SCO) vs. AZ Alkmaar (NED)

Fenerbahce (TUR) versus Neftçi (AZE) / HJK Helsinki (FIN)

Mura (SVN) / Žalgiris Vilnius (LTU) versus Sturm Graz (AUT)

Omonoia (CYP) versus Royal Antwerp (BEL)

Olympiacos (GRE) versus Slovan Bratislava (SVK)

Rangers (SCO) versus Kairat Almaty (KAZ) / Alashkert (ARM)

Slavia Praha (CZE) vs. Legia Warsaw (POL)

Red Star (SRB) versus CFR Cluj (ROU)

Leicester City – the big stories

When are the games played?

The competition started later than usual, in August.

Games will continue to be played on Thursdays (excluding the final) and will be split into two time slots – 5.45pm and 8pm UK time.

qualification

August 5 & 12, 2021: Third qualifying round

August 19 & 26, 2021: Play-offs

Group stage

September 16, 2021: 1st matchday

September 30, 2021: 2nd matchday

October 21, 2021: 3rd matchday

November 4, 2021: Matchday 4

November 25, 2021: Matchday 5

December 9, 2021: 6th matchday

Knockout phases

February 17 & 24, 2022: knockout round play-offs

March 10 & 17, 2022: Round of 16

April 7-14, 2022: quarter-finals

May 28 & May 5, 2022: semi-finals

May 18, 2022: Final

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Where will the final be played?

The final will take place in the Spanish Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in Seville.

It was originally supposed to be played in the Puskás Aréna in Budapest, but due to the postponement and postponement of the 2020 final due to the coronavirus pandemic, the appointed final organizers have been postponed for one year.

The winners of the Europa League automatically receive a place in the Champions League group stage for the following season.

Villarreal is the current trophy holder after beating Man United on penalties in the final in May.

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