For several teams in Europe, Match Day 6 of the Champions League represents a make-or-break night. 

Progress to the last 16 is seen as a minimum requirement for some clubs, who consider themselves as being one of the biggest and best on the continent.

But would a group stage exit and falling into the Europa League be a complete disaster?

The financial rewards of making the last 16 are far greater than the prize money for winning the Europa League, so is the social status of being able to progress to the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition.

With less glitz and less glamour, the Europa League is almost a third-rate tournament in comparison to the Champions League. But, the Europa League does provide several opportunities for those willing to take advantage of other clubs' lack of interest.

Firstly, it’s a trophy! All clubs want to win trophies. The reality is that with clubs like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid being three big heavyweights in the Champions League, winning the tournament might remain a pipe dream to many European clubs. Is it worth making the last 16 or the quarter-finals and being well-beaten by a superior opponent?

The Europa League represents a chance for a European trophy - albeit the ugly sister! Winning the Europa League also opens the door to competing for another trophy in the form of the UEFA Super Cup.

Last season provides a great example of this possibility. Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk both progressed to the last 16 ahead of Chelsea, who dropped into the Europa League. Shakhtar were eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, Bayern dispatched of Juventus in the last eight. Both ended up with nothing (although Juventus did earn 64 million Euro's in television revenue) whilst Chelsea picked up a European trophy, the Europa League. A perfect example of the aforementioned catch-22 scenario.

Another reason to drop into the Europa League is UEFA's flawed co-efficient system. The system which determines which clubs fall into the different pots for the group stage of the Champions League has one major shortcoming - it allocates equal points for winning Europa League games as it does for much harder, higher-profile Champions League games.

Benfica and Porto benefited from the controversial system, as both teams became top seeds in this season's competition, because of their co-efficient rating built off long runs in the Europa League.

Benfica have become the masters of long runs in the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group.

For a club like Napoli - who were fourth seeds in this season's competition - or the third-seeded Dortmund, going into the Europa League represents a chance to build up their UEFA co-efficient to be seeded higher in future campaigns in the Champions League, should either one be eliminated from the Champions League. 

For Arsenal, the Europa League represents a chance to win a trophy - something they haven't done in eight years! The Europa League will be somebody's land of opportunity.

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Topics:
#Europa League
#UEFA Champions League
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