2020–21 UEFA Europa League Qualifying Phase
The 2020–21 UEFA Europa League qualifying phase and play-off round are going to last until October 1. 178 teams are going to compete in the qualifying round. 8 teams from the Champions Path and 13 from the Main Path are going to advance to the group stage.
16 teams played in the preliminary round. Due to grouping, teams from the same association could not play against each other at this time. Lincoln Red Imps won against Prishtina on a technicality. Prishtina had to forfeit due to a large number of players testing positive for COVID-19.
Other winners of the round were Gjilani, Iskra Danilovgrad, Zeta, Glentoran, B36 Tórshavn, Coleraine, and NSÍ Runavík. They moved on to the first qualifying round.
First Qualifying Round
This is where things get a bit more interesting. A total of 94 teams were in this round. That means that the aforementioned 8 that won the preliminary round and 86 other teams competed here. There were 15 groups. The first 13 had 6 teams and the last two had 8 teams.
Second Qualifying Round
At the time of writing, the second qualifying round has not yet happened. The draw is going to be held on August 31. 92 teams are going to play in it. 20 teams are in the Champions Path in three different groups. The teams consist of three losers of the 20/21 Champions League preliminary round and 17 from the Champions League first qualifying round.
The Main Path holds 72 teams. Out of those 72, there are 25 that enter the competition at this stage, and 47 that are the winners of the first qualifying round. The 2020 UEFA club coefficients determine the seeding for the main path. As for the Champions Path, their seeding is determined by the round in which they lost the Champions League.
Third Qualifying Round
We can expect 70 teams in this round. The Champions Path features 8 losers and 10 winners from the Champions League second qualifying round. These 18 teams were in the Champions Path of the Champions League.
Out of 52 teams in the Main Path, 13 come in this stage. In addition, there are 36 winners of the second qualifying round, as well as 3 losers from the Champions League from the League Path.
42 teams are going to be in the play-off round. The Champions Path consists of three teams in the Champions League: 2 losers from the second round, 5 losers of the third round, and 9 winners of the third round.
The Main Path keeps it simple here. There are only 26 teams and they are the winners of the third qualifying round. We can expect the matches to start on October 1.
What Happens Next?
The group stage is going to span from October 22 until December 12. The knockout stages are supposed to start in February next year and the final is going to be played in May.