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Europa League Challenge, 2009-10

For the third time in four seasons ToffeeWeb is set to chronicle another European Tour for Everton

Everton qualified for the lesser of the two Uefa European League/Cup competitions, now renamed the Europa League, in May 2009 by again finishing a very creditable 5th in the Premier League.  A strong run to the FA Cup Final was expected to help also, since Uefa Cup winners Shaktar Dntesk qualified for the Champions League, but hopes of a bye into the League stages were ultimately misplaced.

Uefa Ranking Coefficients

This season, Everton's Uefa Ranking coefficient only marginally improved after the team fell at the first hurdle to Standard Liege. Everton are ranked 54th with a ranking coefficient of 35.899. 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:

  • 2004-05    2005-06   2006-07  2007-08   2008-09          Total
  • 5.1385  +  6.7610  +  5.4860 5.4860  +  4.000     =      35.899

EFC got some recognition for 2005-06 and 2007-08,  but since they only competed in two 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 Europe 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.  In 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!  Everton did far, far better in 2007-08,

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 2007-08, we competed in 10 European ties and earned 18 points.  Added to the country coefficient for England in 2007-08 (4.7610), that gave Everton a coefficient for 2007-08 of 6.7610.

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

Fourth Qualifying Round

Everton were joined by 75 other teams from the major leagues across Europe, who qualified for the 4th Quailfying Round of of the 2009-10 Europa League as follows:

  • 35 winners of the Third Qualifying Round
  • 15 losing sides from the UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round
  • 26 teams who, like Everton, quaified automatically for the Fourth Qualifying Round, including 2008 winners FC Zenit St. Petersburg and 2009 cup holders FC Shakhtar Donetsk who lost in the UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round.

Everton were seeded in pot 1to be drawn against one of the 'lesser' teams with a lower ranking coefficient and were paired with Sigma Olomouc of the Czech Republic.

The Blues won the tie comfortably 5-1 on aggregate thanks to a convincing 4-0 win in the home leg that featured two stunning goals by Jack Rodwell and a 1-1 draw in the return match.

Group stage

The 48 remaining clubs were drawn into twelve groups of four. Clubs from the same association could not be drawn into the same group. Everton were assigned pot 2 for the draw which took place in Nyon 28 August 2010. 

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

Pot 1                          coef.              Pot 2                          coef.
------------------------ --- ----------------     ------------------------ --- ----------------
Werder Bremen *4         Ger  91.339              Fenerbahe *3            Tur  52.445
Villarreal *4            Esp  80.853              FC Basel **              Sui  51.050
AS Roma *3               Ita  78.582              Lille OSC *3             Fra  47.033
PSV Eindhoven *3         Ned  75.826              Celtic @4                Sco  40.575
Shakhtar Donetsk @3      Ukr  74.370              Everton *4               Eng  35.899
Sporting CP Lisbon @4    Por  68.292              Club Brugge *3           Bel  34.065
Hamburger SV *3          Ger  67.339              Heerenveen *4            Ned  33.826
Benfica *4               Por  64.292              Galatasaray **           Tur  33.445
Valencia *4              Esp  59.853              Anderlecht @4            Bel  32.065
Panathinaikos @4         Gre  56.633              Austria Wien *3          Aut  31.565
Ajax *4                  Ned  54.826              FC Kbenhavn @4          Den  26.890
Steaua Bucuresti **      Rom  53.781              Lazio Roma *4            Ita  26.582

Pot 3                          coef.              Pot 4                          coef.
------------------------ --- ----------------     ------------------------ --- ----------------
Hertha BSC *4            Ger  26.339              CSKA Sofia *3            Bul  14.250
Sparta Praha @3          Cze  26.150              Toulouse FC *4           Fra  14.033
Dinamo Bucuresti *4      Rom  25.781              CFR Cluj *4              Rom  13.781
AEK Athens *4            Gre  25.633              Genoa *4                 Ita  12.582
Slavia Praha @3          Cze  25.150              Rapid Wien **            Aut   8.565
Levski Sofia @4          Bul  24.250              FC Timisoara @4          Rom   7.781
Athletic Bilbao *3       Esp  23.853              BATE Borisov @3          Bls   7.733
Partizan Belgrade @3     Srb  23.050              Nacional Funchal *4      Por   7.292
Hapoel Tel-Aviv *3       Isr  18.050              FC Salzburg @4           Aut   6.565
FC Twente Enschede @3    Ned  17.826              Sturm Graz **            Aut   3.565
Dinamo Zagreb @3         Cro  16.466              FK Ventspils @4          Lat   2.832
Fulham FC *3             Eng  15.899              Sheriff Tiraspol @4      Mol   1.333

Everton were grouped with AEK Athens, Benfica and BATE Borisov and handed the following schedule:

17 Sep AEK Athens (H) W 4-0 Yobo, Distin, PIenaar, Jô
1 Oct BATE Borisov (A)  W 2-1 Fellaini, Cahill
22 Oct Benifca (A) L 0-5
5 Nov Benfica (H) L 0-2
2 Dec AEK Athens (A) W 1-0 Bilyaletdinov
17 Dec BATE Borisov (H)  L 0-1

Everton finished second in the group behind Benfica, a position they secured with a match to spare and with the home game against BATE a dead rubber, David Moyes fielded a team packed with Academy players that went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Knock-out format

At this stage, the traditional two-match knockout format is resumed, until the single-match final. Eight 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 Europa League, throwing yet more tough opposition into the mix.

The teams were divided into two pots as follows:

12 EL group winners and                          12 EL group runners-up and
 4 best CL group third-ranked                     4 worst CL group third-ranked
------------------------ ---                     ------------------------ ---
Anderlecht @4            Bel                     Ajax *4                  Ned
Valencia *4              Esp                     Lille OSC *3             Fra
Hapoel Tel-Aviv *3       Isr                     Hamburger SV *3          Ger
Sporting CP Lisbon @4    Por                     Hertha BSC *4            Ger
AS Roma *3               Ita                     Fulham FC *3             Eng
Galatasaray **           Tur                     Panathinaikos @4         Gre
FC Salzburg @4           Aut                     Villarreal *4            Esp
Fenerbahe *3            Tur                     FC Twente Enschede @3    Ned
Benfica *4               Por                     Everton *4               Eng
Shakhtar Donetsk @3      Ukr                     Club Brugge *3           Bel
PSV Eindhoven *3         Ned                     FC Kbenhavn @4          Den
Werder Bremen *4         Ger                     Athletic Bilbao *3       Esp
Unirea Urziceni #        Rom                     Liverpool #              Eng
Juventus #               Ita                     Rubin Kazan #            Rus
VfL Wolfsburg #          Ger                     Standard Lige #         Bel
Olympique Marseille #    Fra                     Atltico Madrid #        Esp

In the draw, Everton were paired with Sporting Lisbon of Portugal, with the winners meeting the winner of the Atletico Madrid vs Galatasaray tie:

16 Feb, 2010: Everton vs Sporting Lisbon
25 Feb, 2010: Sporting Lisbon vs Everton

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. 

The Final

This first Europa League final will take place at SV Hamburg's 57,000-capacity HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg on 12 May, 2010.


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