As usual on UEFA Europa League week, we are bigging up the tournament and here are the fixtures for 6 Dec 2012 - the final set of group games (all times GMT)...
Young Boys v Anzhi Makhachkala 18:00
Udinese v Liverpool 18:00
Hapoel Tel-Aviv v Academica 18:00
Plzen v Atletico Madrid 18:00
AEL v Marseille 18:00
Fenerbahce v Borussia M'gladbach 18:00
Maritimo v Club Brugge 18:00
Bordeaux v Newcastle 18:00
VfB Stuttgart v Molde 18:00
FC Copenhagen v Steaua Bucuresti 18:00
Dnipro v AIK 18:00
Napoli v PSV 18:00
Genk v Basle 20:05
Sporting v Videoton FC 20:05
Inter Milan v Neftchi 20:05
Partizan Belgrade v Rubin Kazan 20:05
Lyon v Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 20:05
Athletic Bilbao v Sparta Prague 20:05
Maribor v Lazio 20:05
Tottenham v Panathinaikos 20:05
Rapid Vienna v FC Metalist Kharkiv 20:05
Bayer Leverkusen v Rosenborg 20:05
Levante v Hannover 96 20:05
FC Twente v Helsingborgs IF 20:05
Pick of the matches for us is the FCK v Steaua tie from group E, which still has a fair bit of life in it.
Oh, and while we are on, it's worth noting that tickets for the final of the UEFA Europa League, which will be played at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday 15 May 2013 at 20.45CET, are AVAILABLE TO APPLY FOR NOW. Here's the word:
A dedicated ticketing portal will open on UEFA.com on Monday 3 December 2012 at 12.00CET to sell 18,000 tickets to the general public via a lottery process. Tickets are available in four price categories: €135 (category one), €100 (category two), €70 (category three) and €45 (category four). The prices were set by UEFA in consultation with the Amsterdam final local organising committee and the independent Football Supporters Europe network (FSE), and the sales period will run until Friday 18 January 2013 at 12.00CET.
Additionally, for football fans under the age of 14, UEFA has reserved 200 youth ticket packages in category two for the price of category four tickets. One youth package, which comprises two category two tickets for a child and an accompanying adult, costs €90. Tickets with wheelchair access are in category four, and a ticket for an accompanying person is included in the price.
Applicants can apply for up to two tickets per person in the same price category. All valid applications will enter a lottery at the end of the sales phase, regardless of the time of submission. Consequently, customers are advised not to rush their application in the first hours after the opening of the ticket portal. The shipment fee per order is €8 in the Netherlands, €20 within Europe and €35 outside Europe. Applicants will be informed by email by February whether they have been successful in the lottery.
....and just to back up the EL love-in, here is the most recent piece of infographic/video genius from Western Union and the PASS initiative.
If it’s new to you, through PASS, Western Union intends to harness the power of football to build awareness of the need for greater investment in education around the world. The initiative will also help deliver on-the-ground educational support that will make a difference to young people and their communities.
As a Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League, Western Union will turn every successful pass in this season's competition into funding to support one day's education for young people around the world. The fund aims to reach one million days of school over the next three seasons, so it’s certainly worth backing.
Anyway, enough of the background, this is just ace. At present, we don’t think anyone is owning the infographics field like these chaps, and the supporting video is just magnificent. Good to see Emre (now 106) still as influential as ever.....