Manchester United’s Europa League campaign will resume in August in Germany after the side completes its Round of 16 tie with Austrian side LASK, UEFA has confirmed.
Europe’s governing body yesterday announced the format and schedule for completion of the tournament, which the Red Devils are favourites to win.
The Round of 16 matches will be completed on the 5th and 6th August at venues to be confirmed. For United, this will be the second leg of the tie that they lead 5-0 after the rout in Austria shortly before lockdown.
With travel restrictions to the UK for elite sports now lifted, in theory the game should take place at Old Trafford but UEFA could decide to play all games in Germany.
Round of 16 ties where neither leg was played, Sevilla vs Roma and Inter Milan vs Getafe, will be played as a single leg at a neutral venue.
The rest of the tournament will then be played exclusively in Germany as one-leg ties.
United’s quarter final will be played in Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf or Gelsenkirchen on the 10th or 11th August.
Should they advance, their semi-final will be played on either 16th or 17th August at a venue to be confirmed.
The final will be played at Stadion Köln, Cologne on the 21st August.
There is a slim possibility that fans may be able to attend some of the games. UEFA have stated that they ‘will be regularly assessing the situation across the continent and will liaise with local authorities to see when spectators could gradually return.’
The organisation has also relaxed some rules for the rest of the campaign. As in the Premier League, five substitutes will be allowed per match and clubs will be allowed to register three new players as long as they were registered with the club at the end of January.
Based on other first leg scorelines, the favourites so far to join United in the quarter finals, in addition to the clubs mentioned above, are Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolves and Basel. The match between Copenhagen and Istanbul Basaksehir is evenly poised.
The fact that the tournament will be played out in Germany could provide a significant advantage to Leverkusen.
If United win the competition they will automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League regardless of their final position in this season’s Premier League.
With the Premier League ending on July 26th, the Red Devils will have either 11 or 12 days to prepare for the Europa League unless they are in the FA Cup final on August 1st.
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