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Do Europa League group winners have to play in the round of 32?

WITH the Europa League group stage concluding this week, fans will find out who is through to the knockout stages of the competition.

While Arsenal and Manchester United are already through, their final positions will be decided on Thursday night as they can still finish second.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating after scoring against Sheriff Tiraspol in the UEFA Europa League

Therefore they have it all to play for going into the final game of the groups as the likes of Barcelona could drop into the competition.

Topping the groups comes with huge benefits and could make a run to the final simpler.

Do Europa League group winners have to play in the round of 32?

The eight group winners do not have to play in the round of 32, and instead will progress automatically to the round of 16.

This is as the third-placed teams in their Champions League groups will drop into the competition.

The eight teams that drop out of the competition will face a Europa League group runner up in the knockout round play-offs, also known as the round of 32.

These matches will be played in February following the World Cup over the winter months as those involved will be dreaming of making it to the 2022 final in Budapest.

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