Champions League, Europa League finally coming home  — Nigerian Pilot News
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Champions League, Europa League finally coming home 



.as English teams make European history

English clubs during the week created European football history by taking all four final spots in the
continent’s two major competitions.
Arsenal won in Valencia and Chelsea beat Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday to reach the Europa League
This followed dramatic wins for Liverpool over Barcelona and Tottenham against Ajax in the Champions
It is the first time all four finalists in Europe’s top two competitions have come from one country.
There have only been two all-English finals before, with Tottenham beating Wolves in the 1971-72 UEFA
Cup and Manchester United beating Chelsea in the 2007-08 Champions League.
Spain had three teams in the finals of the two competitions in 2015-16, with Real Madrid and Atletico
Madrid contesting the Champions League trophy and Unai Emery’s Sevilla winning the Europa League.
“In England the level is very high and the Premier League is the best championship in Europe,” said
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
Arsenal and Chelsea will meet in Baku, Azerbaijan – 2,468 miles from London – on 29 May, with a
Champions League spot at stake for the Gunners, who could become the fifth English side to qualify for
next season’s competition. Chelsea are already assured of their place after cementing a top-four finish in
the Premier League.
Baku’s Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 68,700 but UEFA has allocated only 6,000 tickets to each club,
a decision Arsenal described as “disappointing”, adding that it presents them with “extreme difficulties” in
how to allocate tickets”.
Tottenham and Liverpool will meet in Madrid on 1 June, with fans of those clubs also facing travel issues
of their own, with direct flights from the UK reaching £1,300 and some airlines being accused of
The Premier League clubs’ achievements means there will also be an all-English UEFA Super Cup in
August. That game will be played in Istanbul, Turkey.

Europa League final: Arsenal, Chelsea fans face difficult trip to Baku
Their stadiums may only be separated by an eight-mile hop across London, but Chelsea and Arsenal fans
now face a long journey to the eastern edge of Europe for the Europa League final.
Success for both sides on Thursday ensured the Londoners will meet in an all-English final in Baku,
Azerbaijan on Wednesday, 29 May.
That means supporters will have to travel 2,467 miles to watch the game in a city further east than Riyadh
in Saudi Arabia or Baghdad in Iraq, and closer to Mumbai in India than it is to the English capital.
You might think modern transport would mean journeys would be straightforward.
There are currently no direct scheduled flights between London and Baku in the week of the final.
If you want to fly to the game on the day then a lengthy wait in somewhere like Istanbul or Kiev would be
The quickest journey by air on the day of the final takes six hours 55 minutes, with the majority lasting
more than 10 hours.
The only way to fly direct to Baku for the game would be to leave London on the Saturday beforehand
and return a week later, three days after the trophy has been lifted.
That's an eight-day trip for 90 minutes of football – and for a game which kicks of at 11pm local time
(20:00 BST), so will not finish until about 1am!
So what about the train?
It takes more than four days to travel from London to Baku on public transport, passing through seven
countries. Anyone who watched BBC Two's Race Across the World will know it might also involve some
less-than-first-class rail conditions.
The whole journey would likely include 11 changes and a two-day train journey from Kharkiv in Ukraine to
Of course you could drive, but you would be looking at around 59 hours behind the wheel. It is made
longer than it might otherwise have been because of the need to avoid a closed border crossing and an
area of eastern Ukraine in which Russian-backed rebels are confronting Ukrainian troops along a mainly

static frontline. Making the actual journey safely, therefore, involves an alternative route, with going via
Istanbul one option.
When you take in the time needed to eat and sleep, it would probably be best to set off on the Saturday to
make the Wednesday night kick-off.
For the victors, another game thousands of miles away against English opponents will only be a matter of
months away – the Champions League winners will face the Europa League winners (either Arsenal or
Chelsea) in the Uefa Super Cup in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, 14 August.

Champions League and Europa League: Who qualifies next season?
Liverpool and Tottenham meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on 1 June, with Chelsea and
Arsenal playing in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday, 29 May.
With the winners of both tournaments getting in next season's Champions League, what does that mean
for English qualification places? BBC Sport has a look.
Who qualifies for Europe usually?
The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, while the FA Cup winners,
the Carabao Cup winners and the fifth-placed side in the top flight go into the Europa League.
If the winners of the two cups finish in the top four, their places go to the teams sixth and seventh in the
But the winners of the Champions League and Europa League – both guaranteed to be English – also
qualify. So what happens here?
Will England get an extra Champions League spot?
England will only get a fifth team in the Champions League if a club who finish outside the top four win
one of the tournaments.
Arsenal are likely to finish fifth (or sixth if Manchester United overtake them on the final day). The
Gunners are three points and eight goals behind Tottenham with one game left.
That would mean they need to win the Europa League to qualify for next season's Champions League. In
the unlikely event that Tottenham finish fifth, then Mauricio Pochettino's side would need to win the
Champions League. Otherwise fifth spot means a Europa League place for next season.
What happens if a team win either cup and finish in the top four?
Liverpool and Chelsea are guaranteed top-four spots, with Tottenham likely to book theirs on Sunday.
If any of those teams win their tournament, their Champions League spot does not transfer down to the
next Premier League side.
So Arsenal cannot finish fifth, lose their Europa League final and qualify for the Champions League.
What happens to their spot may surprise you.
If Chelsea win the Europa League, it means Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg go straight into the
group stages instead of qualifying. That is because the Austrian Bundesliga, at 11th, is the top-ranked
league not to have an automatic Champions League qualifier.
Presuming Spurs hold on to a top-four spot, then if they win the Champions League the third-placed team
in France's Ligue 1 – likely to be Lyon or Saint-Etienne – go straight into the group stages instead of the
qualifiers. France is the highest-ranked league, at fifth, to have a team enter the qualifiers.
So Chelsea can deny Arsenal a place?
Yes, effectively Chelsea can stop Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League twice – through both the
Premier League and Europa League (again presuming Arsenal don't finish in the top four).
Maurizio Sarri's side's group spot for next season is booked through the league, which means all they are
playing for in the Europa League final is the prestige of winning the trophy.
If they win, they are still in the Champions League and Arsenal miss out. If Arsenal win, then they will
both be in next season's Champions League.
But Arsenal are guaranteed at least a Europa League group spot, right?
The teams who finish fifth (unless they win one of the tournaments) and sixth will qualify for the Europa
League – along with the FA Cup winners.

That will probably be Arsenal and Manchester United in either order. If Manchester City win the FA Cup,
then seventh place in the Premier League will go into the Europa League second qualifying round on 25
But if Watford win the FA Cup, then the Hornets will go straight into the group stages – and sixth place in
the Premier League goes into the qualifiers instead.
That would mean Arsenal or United's first leg would clash with their pre-season plans abroad.
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