Today’s Europa League draw saw Arsenal top Group H. Arsenal were in pot 1, which contained the 12 top seeded teams in the competition. The teams that were drawn alongside Arsenal in this group were FC Bate Borisov from Belarus, German side 1. FC Koln and Red Star Belgrade from Serbia. The draw was done by former footballers Henrik Larsson and Eric Abidal.
FC Bate Borisov
FC Bate Borisov are the 13-time champions of Belarus, currently on an impressive 11-year in a row streak. They are absolutely dominating their national competition. A familiar former player of FC Bate Borisov is former Gunner Alexandr Hleb.
1. FC Koln
Two time German Bundesliga winners 1. FC Koln are based in Cologne, Germany. The team play their home games at the RheinEnergie Stadion, with a capacity of 50.000. The club are also the former employer of Lukas Podolski, who has worn the Arsenal shirt from 2012 to 2015.
FC Red Star Belgrade
Serbian side Fudbalski klub Crvena zvezda, commonly known in English as Red Star Belgrade are the final team to be drawn in group H. Arsenal have played Red Star Belgrade twice in the 1978 UEFA Cup Third Round. The Gunners lost the game 2-1 on aggregate.
Clear favourites in the group
As a regular in the UEFA Champions League for many years in a row, this is Arsenal’s first appearance in this competition since losing the final to Turkish side Galatasaray in 2000. Although the Gunners should not be underestimating this group of opponents, it is expected that we will qualify from this group without too many trouble.
The final will be held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France on 16 May 2018. The winner of the Europa League will not only win the trophy, but also automatically qualify for the Group Stage in the 2018/19 Champions League season.