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Uefa Cup Challenge, 2007-08

ToffeeWeb chronicles Everton's European Tour, 2007-08

Uefa Cup
Group A Final Table
Team P GD Pts
Everton 4 6 12
Nurnberg 4 1 7
Zenit 4 1 5
Alkmaar 4 -1 4
Larissa 3 -6 0

Everton qualified for the Uefa Cup in May 2007 by finishing 6th in the Premier League — the first time in over 28 years that Everton have entered Europe's second-tier competition directly based on league position. 

How Everton progress should be down to playing football on the day, but there is the not-so-small matter of the Uefa Ranking Coefficients on which seeding is based to consider.

Uefa Ranking Coefficients

Everton are ranked 100th with a ranking coefficient of 26.418. A club's ranking coefficient is based on their performance in European competition over the previous five season, as the sum of all five team coefficients.  For Everton, the sum of their team coefficients each of the last five seasons is:

  • 2002-03    2003-04    2004-05    2005-06   2006-07       Total
  •  3.5200  +  3.7125  +  5.1385  +  6.7610  +  5.4860  =  24.618

EFC got some recognition for 2005-06,  but since Everton only competed in one of those five seasons, where do all those other numbers come from?

The other numbers represent the country coefficient for each season — a value determined to reflect how well teams from the club's home country did in Europe.  If the team itself did not compete in Europe in any of the previous five seasons, then it takes the value of country coefficient for that season.

We did not compete in 2006-07, so we were assigned the country coefficient value for England of 5.4860.  The Uefa country coefficient for a given season is determined by the number of points earned by teams from that country playing in Europe, divided by the number of participating teams.  Last season (2006-07), eight English teams earned 133 points for country average of 16.625. Points are assigned as follows:

  • 2 points for a win; 1 point for a draw in full European competition
  • 1 point for a win; 0.5 points for a draw in a qualifying round
  • Bonus points are awarded for... what?

Thus, in 2005-06, Everton lost two qualifying-round games in the Champions League (null points) and we lost one (badly!) but won one in the Uefa Cup proper, earning 2.0 points!

The team coefficient in a given season is determined by the number of points earned through participation in he European competitions proper, added to 33% of the country average.  The 33% of the country average represents the base value of the team coefficient for any team from that country in a given season in which they did not compete.  If they did compete, then their points earned are added to the con.

To illustrate the team coefficient for Everton in 2005-06, we competed in two European ties and earned 2 points.  Added to the country coefficient for England in 2005-06 (4.7610), that gave Everton a coefficient for 2006 of 6.7610.

Similarly, the country ranking coefficient is the sum of the previous five years. (Interestingly, both Leeds and Ipswich are currently ranked higher than Everton in the Uefa seedings.)

First Round

Everton are joined by 31 other team from the major leagues across Europe, who qualified automatically for Round 1 of of the Uefa Cup by various means:

  • 1 defending cup holder
  • 16 teams eliminated from the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League
  • 2 third-placed teams from countries ranked 7-8
  • 5 fourth-placed teams from countries ranked 4-8
  • 8 fifth-placed teams from countries ranked 1-8
  • 3 sixth-placed teams from countries ranked 1-3
  • 13 cup winners from countries ranked 1-13

To make up the total of 80 teams, they were joined in Round 1 by 32 teams winning through from the Uefa Cup qualifying rounds and 16 teams that fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages. Of the 80 teams in Round 1, Everton were ranked inside the top 40 teams and that was enough for the club to be seeded in Round 1which would have the Blues playing one of the 'lesser' teams with a lower ranking coefficient.

In the end, EFC were drawn against the virtually unknown Ukrainian side, Metalist Kharkiv.

The tie was played over two legs. In the home leg on 20th September, Everton seemed to be heading for an expected victory when Joleon Lescott headed the opening goal of the tie and Andy Johnson rammed home a second-half penalty. Unfortunately, inconsistently anal refereeing by Fritz Stuchlik, the Austrian official, meant that he ordered AJ to retake the kick for encroachment but allowed the second kick to stand despite the same infringement by Kharkiv players.

Johnson had the chance to make amends in the dying stages but skied his spot-kick over the bar. In between, Zeze had equalised for the Ukrainians and handed them a priceless away goal.

The second leg in Kharkov on 4th October started just as badly, with Everton all at sea and a goal down inside 22 minutes when the Brazilian, Edmar, slotted home. The Blues rallied at the start of the second half, however, and Joleon Lescott, at the time the team's leading scorer, equalised with a smart finish from close range.

Metalist retook the lead just four minutes later through Hatchim Mahdoufi but goals by James McFadden and Victor Anichebe won the tie for Everton 4-3 on aggregate.

Group stage

The format of the competition was changed in 2004-05 when a group stage was introduced.  The group stage comprises eight groups of five, with each club playing four times, twice at home and twice away. The winners, runners-up and third-placed clubs from each group advance to the last 32 where they are joined by the eight third-placed clubs from the Uefa Champions League Group Stage. 

Everton were assigned pot 3 for the draw which took place in Nyon at noon on 9 October 2007.  Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn into the same group so EFC would not be grouped with either Tottenham or Bolton but could have drawn Aberdeen who qualified in Ukraine against Shaktar Dnipr on the same night as the Blues' triumph in Kharkov.

The following table is copied from Bert Kassies' comprehensive Uefa Cup page:

Pot 1                          coef.     Pot 2                          coef.
   ------------------------ --- -------     ------------------------ --- -------
   Villarreal               Esp  78.374     Tottenham Hotspur        Eng  40.618
   Bayern München           Ger  73.640     Lokomotiv Moscow         Rus  38.920
   AZ Alkmaar               Ned  63.995     Zenit St. Petersburg     Rus  38.920
   Panathinaikos            Gre  55.415     Sparta Praha             Cze  37.851
   FC Basel                 Sui  54.869     AEK Athens               Gre  36.415
   Girondins Bordeaux       Fra  49.706     Hamburger SV             Ger  34.640
   Bayer Leverkusen         Ger  45.640     Bolton Wanderers         Eng  32.618
   Anderlecht               Bel  41.594     Austria Wien             Aut  30.104
Pot 3                          coef.     Pot 4                          coef.
   ------------------------ --- -------     ------------------------ --- -------
   Spartak Moscow           Rus  27.920     Hapoel Tel-Aviv          Isr  19.338
   Sporting Braga           Por  27.107     Red Star Belgrade        Srb  19.256
   Galatasaray              Tur  26.791     FC København             Den  19.129
   Atlético Madrid          Esp  25.374     Toulouse FC              Fra  17.706
   Getafe                   Esp  25.374     Dinamo Zagreb            Cro  17.533
   Everton                  Eng  24.618     Panionios                Gre  16.415
   Fiorentina               Ita  21.808     1.FC Nürnberg            Ger  14.640
   Stade Rennais            Fra  20.706     Mladá Boleslav           Cze  13.851
Pot 5                          coef.
   ------------------------ --- -------
   Aris Thessaloniki        Gre  13.415
   Aberdeen                 Sco  11.064
   FC Zürich                Sui   9.869
   AE Larissa               Gre   8.415
   AaB Aalborg              Den   7.129
   SK Brann Bergen          Nor   6.509
   IF Elfsborg              Swe   4.478
   Helsingborg IF           Swe   3.478

Everton were drawn first from Pot 3 and were grouped with AZ Alkmaar, Zenit St. Petersburg, FC Nurnberg, and AE Larissa and played the following schedule of fixtures:

Everton won the group outright after just three games, rendering the last game in Holland academic, and moving on to the final stages of a European competition for the first time since 1985. By winning the group, they were guaranteed to be drawn against a third-placed team from the group phase.


Knock-out format

At this stage, the traditional two-match knockout format is resumed, until the single-match final. Clubs who were eliminated in third position in their Champions League groups get a European safety net with entry to the Round of 32 of the Uefa Cup, throwing yet more tough opposition into the mix.

Those confirmed ex-Champions League clubs are:
Benfica, Marseilles, Rosenborg, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon, Slavia Prague, PSV Eindhoven, and Glasgow Rangers.

The first time Everton are in danger of meeting any of those teams, though, was in the Round of 16. Having won Group A, the Blues faced one of third placed teams from the Uefa Cup group phase, except that clubs from the same country cannot play each other at this stage.

Everton were drawn against Brann Bergen in the draw to in Nyon at noon on 21st December with the winners playing either Fiorentina or Rosenborg.

Full Draw:

Aberdeen v Bayern Munich
AEK Athens v Getafe
Bolton v Atletico Madrid
Zenit St Petersburg v Villarreal
Galatasaray v Bayer Leverkusen
Anderlecht v Bordeaux
SK Brann v Everton
FC Zurich v Hamburg
Rangers v Panathinaikos
PSV Eindhoven v Helsingborg
Slavia Prague v Tottenham
Rosenborg v Fiorentina
Sporting Lisbon v Basle
Werder Bremen v Braga
Benfica v Nuremburg
Marseille v Spartak Moscow

(Ties to be played on 13/14 February and 21 February

For two-legged matches in the knock-out phase, the club scoring the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round.  In the event of both teams scoring the same number of goals, the team which scores more away goals qualifies.  If this proves inconclusive, extra time then, if necessary, penalty kicks will be used to decide the winner. Extra-time and penalties are also used to determine the winner in the final if the match is drawn at the end of normal time. 


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