Europa League Group Stage Draw
The Group Stage Draw For The UEFA Europa League 2022/2023 Season
Finnish Veikkausliiga side were handed a very challenging group in the UEFA Europa League. The Paimio-based football side defeated SK Slavia Praha, FK Vojvodina, BSC Young Boys and FK Schachzjor Salihorsk en route to the group stage, and were rewarded for their troubles with a group draw which will see them face Udinese Calcio of Italy, CSKA Moscow of Russia and FC København of Denmark in a hot Group H. Due to major rescheduling to compensate for the winter-based FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year, Group H will only kick off on 20th October, to allow for domestic competitions to be scheduled in bulk before hand. The final Group H fixtures will be played on 5th January 2023.
Group H Contains Udinese Calcio, CSKA Moscow, FC København And Peimari United
FC København were seeded in the first pot for the draw. Founded in 1992, FCK have become Denmark's most successful team since their inception. Fifteen Superliga and eight DBU Cup titles have attested to their domestic dominance. FCK's most successful UEFA Champions League campaign came in the 2010/2011 season where they reached the last sixteen. Chelsea defeated them in that tie. FCK have been regulars in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League, reaching the second round last season.
FCK disappointed domestically last season, finishing third in the Danish Superliga. However, Danish manager Johnny Mølby has professed that his team are in the midst of a major reshape, with a number of new signings brought in this summer. Despite Viktor Fischer (€7,750,000 to Liverpool) and Mohamed Daramy (€4,700,000 to FC Bayern München) leaving this summer, the club managed to bring in Sergi Samper (€4,800,000 from West Ham), Rasmus Nissen Kristensen (loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach), Everton Felipe (€500,000 from Internacional) and Felipe Jonatan (€3,600,000 from Botafogo) to bolster their ranks. The experienced Rasmus Falk and Nicolai Boilesen are expected to play key roles this season.
Udinese Calcio were seeded into the second pot for the draw. The Udine-based club was founded, as a football club, in 1911. They have never won Italy's top flight, the Serie A, and have never won their country's major cup competition, Coppa Italia. Udinese have once reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, in the 2005/2006 season, but finished third in a group which contained eventual winners FC Barcelona. Udinese's most successful UEFA Europa League campaign came back in the 2008/2009 season where they reached the quarter finals in the then-UEFA Cup. German side Werder Bremen defeated them. Udinese reached the last sixteen last season, but lost on away goals to German side Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Udinese qualified directly for the Europa League group stage this season by finishing in fifth place in the Serie A last season. They have so far had a mixed start to the Serie A season, with wins against Sassuolo and Frosinone Calcio at home, drawing away to AS Roma and Cagliari. Udinese will be looking for inspiration from new signings Leandro Trossard (€5,000,000 from Lyon), Simone Lo Faso (€3,800,000 from Palermo), Sandro (€14,500,000 from Everton), Vladimir Darida (€4,600,000 from Leicester) and Alberto (loan from Real Madrid). The new signings join key players Ignacio Pussetto, Federico Dimarco, Antonin Barak and Rolando Mandragora at manager Julio Velázquez' side, as Udinese look to break in to the Serie A top four, and earn progression in Europe.
CSKA Moscow were seeded into the third pot for the draw. Founded in 1911, CSKA came to prominence in the twenty-first century courtesy of serious investment. Since 2002, CSKA have won six Russian Premier League titles, eight Russian Cup titles and seven Russian Super Cup titles. CSKA's solitary European trophy came in the 2004/2005 season, when they won the UEFA Cup with a 3-1 victory against Sporting CP in the final. Their most successful UEFA Champions League season came in the 2009/2010 season where they reached the quarter finals, only to be eliminated by eventual winners Inter Milan. CSKA reached the last sixteen of the Europa League last season, but lost out to SSC Napoli.
CSKA had a quiet transfer window, with Alexandr Yerokhin (€325,000 from Krasnodar) the only signing. The capital side will be relying on key players Nélson Monte, Mário Fernandes, Alan Dzagoev and Kenneth Omeruo to get them through the tough group. Serbian manager Zoran Mirkovic saw his team qualify for the Europa League third qualifying round by finishing third in the Russian Premier League last season. They defeated Heart of Midlothian and HNK Rijeka en route to the group stage this season. Their domestic season to date has been one of mixed fortune. Despite defeating Ural, Arsenal Tula and SKA-Khabarovsk, CSKA have drawn against Dynamo Moscow and lost to Lokomotiv Moscow. CSKA will be looking to finish this season with at least one trophy, and want to make a grand charge in the Europa League.
Peimari United's first group stage game will come on 20th October when they host CSKA Moscow at Kupittaan jalkapallostadion in Turku, Finland. A club record-breaking crowd is expected to attend. Peimari will follow this up with away games against CSKA Moscow (3rd November) and FC København (24th November), before hosting Udinese (8th December). Peimari's final two games will see them host FC København (31st December) and visit Udinese (5th January), as the fixtures face a jumbled scheduling due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Fellow Finnish side HJK also qualified for the UEFA Europa League group stage. Their European journey this season began in July when they faced Molde FK in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. However, defeat over the two legs saw HJK moved to Europa League qualifying. They successfully navigated the challenges of Alashkert and Beitar Yerushalayim to progress to the group stage. HJK were handed a difficult group as they look to play against RB Leizpig, sc Heerenveen and Malmö FF in Group K.
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