The 2009–10 UEFA Europa League was the first season of the UEFA Europa League, Europe's secondary club football tournament organised by UEFA. The competition was previously known as the UEFA Cup, which had been in existence for 38 years.
Spain's Atlético Madrid won the tournament for the first time, beating Fulham – who were playing in their first European final – at the HSH Nordbank Arena, home ground of Hamburger SV, in Hamburg, Germany.
Association team allocation
A total of 192 teams from 53 UEFA associations participated in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League. Associations are allocated places according to their 2008 UEFA country coefficient, which takes into account their performance in European competitions from 2003–04 to 2007–08.
Below is the qualification scheme for the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League:
- Associations 1–6 each enter three teams
- Associations 7–9 each enter four teams
- Associations 10–51 each enter three teams, except Liechtenstein (it organises only a domestic cup competition and no domestic league competition)
- Associations 52–53 plus Liechtenstein each enter one team
- The top three associations of the 2008–09 UEFA Fair Play ranking each gain an additional berth
- Moreover, 33 teams eliminated from the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League are transferred to the Europa League
- (FP): Additional fair play berth (Norway, Denmark, Scotland)
- (UCL): Additional teams transferred from the UEFA Champions League
Since the winners of the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, Shakhtar Donetsk, qualified for the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League through domestic performance, the title holder spot reserved for them in the group stage was vacated. As this was the first edition of the Europa League, it was initially unknown whether UEFA would simply disregard the vacant title holder spot and rearrange entries so that one more team would qualify from the play-off round, or replace the title holders' group stage place with that of the top-ranked association's cup winner and move teams from lower rounds appropriately, as the regulations are unclear on this matter. The former set-up was confirmed by UEFA's official list of participants, published on 16 June 2009. As a result, the following changes to the default allocation system were made to compensate for the vacant title holder spot in the group stage:
- The domestic cup winners of associations 16 and 17 (Switzerland and Bulgaria) were promoted from the third qualifying round to the play-off round.
- The domestic cup winners of associations 28 and 29 (Cyprus and Slovenia) were promoted from the second qualifying round to the third qualifying round.
- The domestic cup winners of associations 52 and 53 (Andorra and San Marino) and the domestic league runners-up of associations 35 and 36 (Republic of Ireland and Macedonia) were promoted from the first qualifying round to the second qualifying round.
||Teams entering in this round
||Teams advancing from previous round
||Teams transferred from Champions League
|First qualifying round
- 14 domestic league runners-up from associations 37–51 (except Liechtenstein)
- 29 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 22–51 (except Liechtenstein)
- 3 teams which qualified via Fair Play rankings
|Second qualifying round
- 24 domestic cup winners from associations 30–53
- 18 domestic league runners-up from associations 19–36
- 6 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 16–21
- 6 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 10–15
- 3 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 7–9
- 23 winners from the first qualifying round
|Third qualifying round
- 12 domestic cup winners from associations 18–29
- 3 domestic league runners-up from associations 16–18
- 6 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 10–15
- 3 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 7–9
- 3 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 4–6 (League Cup winners for France)
- 3 domestic league sixth-placed teams from associations 1–3 (League Cup winners for England)
- 40 winners from the second qualifying round
- 17 domestic cup winners from associations 1–17
- 3 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 7–9
- 3 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 4–6
- 3 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 1–3
- 35 winners from the third qualifying round
- 15 losers from the Champions League third qualifying round
- 38 winners from the play-off round
- 10 losers from the Champions League play-off round
- 12 group winners from the group stage
- 12 group runners-up from the group stage
- 8 third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage
A Europa League place is vacated when a team qualify for both the Champions League and the Europa League, or qualify for the Europa League by more than one method. When a place is vacated, it is redistributed within the national association by the following rules:
- When the domestic cup winners (considered as the "highest-placed" qualifier within the national association) also qualify for the Champions League, their Europa League place is vacated, and the remaining Europa League qualifiers are moved up one place, with the final place (with the earliest starting round) taken by the domestic cup runners-up, provided they do not already qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League. Otherwise, this place is taken by the highest-placed league finisher which do not qualify for the Europa League yet.
- When the domestic cup winners also qualify for the Europa League through league position, their place through the league position is vacated, and the Europa League qualifiers which finish lower in the league are moved up one place, with the final place taken by the highest-placed league finisher which do not qualify for the Europa League yet.
- A place vacated by the League Cup winners is taken by the highest-placed league finisher which do not qualify for the Europa League yet.
- A Fair Play place is taken by the highest-ranked team in the domestic Fair Play table which do not qualify for the Champions League or Europa League yet.
The labels in the parentheses show how each team qualified for the place of its starting round:
- CW: Cup winners
- CR: Cup runners-up
- LC: League Cup winners
- Nth: League position
- P-W: End-of-season European competition play-off winners
- FP: Fair play
- UCL: Relegated from the Champions League
- GS: Third-placed teams from the group stage
- PO: Losers from the play-off round
- Q3: Losers from the third qualifying round
- TH Title Holder: Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the UEFA Champions League as the runner-up of the 2008–09 Ukrainian Premier League. After losing in the Champions League third qualifying round, they entered the UEFA Europa League at the play-off round.
- Armenia (ARM): Ararat Yerevan, which finished second in the 2008 Armenian Premier League, did not obtain a UEFA license, so Gandzasar, which finished third, were moved up to the second qualifying round, while Mika, which finished fourth, took the first qualifying round spot.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH): Sloboda Tuzla, which finished third in the 2008–09 Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, did not obtain a UEFA license, so Sarajevo, which finished fourth, were moved up to the second qualifying round. Borac Banja Luka, which finished fifth, also did not obtain a UEFA license, so Široki Brijeg, which finished sixth, took the first qualifying round spot.
- Israel (ISR): 2008–09 Israel State Cup winners Beitar Jerusalem (which also finished third in the 2008–09 Israeli Premier League) did not obtain a UEFA license. Since Maccabi Haifa, the cup runners-up, qualified for the Champions League as the league champions, all three Israeli Europa League spots were redistributed based on league position, with second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv moving up to the third qualifying round, fourth-placed Maccabi Netanya moving up to the second qualiyfing round, and fifth-placed Bnei Yehuda taking the first qualifying round spot.
- Kazakhstan (KAZ): Almaty, the 2008 Kazakhstan Cup runners-up, merged with Megasport to form Lokomotiv Astana. However, the new club did not obtain a UEFA license. Following the denied license and withdrawal of three higher-placed teams in the 2008 Kazakhstan Premier League, Okzhetpes, which finished ninth, took the first qualifying round spot.
- Latvia (LVA): Daugava Daugavpils, the 2008 Latvian Football Cup winners, merged with Dinaburg. Skonto, which finished third in the 2008 Latvian Higher League, were moved up to the second qualifying round, while Dinaburg, which finished fourth, took the first qualifying round spot.
Round and draw dates
All draws held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland unless stated otherwise.
||First qualifying round
||22 June 2009
||2 July 2009
||9 July 2009
|Second qualifying round
||16 July 2009
||23 July 2009
|Third qualifying round
||17 July 2009
||30 July 2009
||6 August 2009
||7 August 2009
||20 August 2009
||27 August 2009
||28 August 2009
|17 September 2009
||1 October 2009
||22 October 2009
||5 November 2009
||2–3 December 2009
||16–17 December 2009
||Round of 32
||18 December 2009
||18 February 2010
||25 February 2010
|Round of 16
||11 March 2010
||18 March 2010
||19 March 2010
||1 April 2010
||8 April 2010
||22 April 2010
||29 April 2010
||12 May 2010 at HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg
In the qualifying phase and the play-off round, teams play against each other over two legs on a home-and-away basis.
The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds, conducted by UEFA President Michel Platini and UEFA General Secretary David Taylor, was held on 22 June 2009, and the draw for the third qualifying round, conducted by UEFA Competitions Director Giorgio Marchetti and Head of Club Competitions Michael Heselschwerdt, was held on 17 July 2009. For the draws, clubs were separated into seeded and unseeded teams based on their club coefficient. Because the draws for the second and third qualifying rounds took place before the previous round was completed, the teams were seeded assuming the seeded side in the previous round would be victorious.
First qualifying round
The first legs were played on 2 July, and the second legs were played on 9 July 2009.
† Order of legs reversed after original draw
Second qualifying round
The first legs were played on 14 and 16 July, and the second legs were played on 23 July 2009.
Both the first and second legs between Bnei Yehuda and Dinaburg and between Rapid Wien and Vllaznia Shkodër were under investigation by UEFA and German authorities for possible match-fixing.
† Order of legs reversed after original draw
Third qualifying round
The first legs were played on 28 and 30 July, and the second legs were played on 4 and 6 August 2009.
The first leg between Fenerbahçe and Budapest Honvéd and the second leg between Interblock Ljubljana and Metalurh Donetsk were under investigation by UEFA and German authorities for possible match-fixing.
† Order of legs reversed after original draw
The draw for the play-off round, conducted by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and UEFA Competitions Director Giorgio Marchetti, was held on 7 August 2009. For the draw, clubs were separated into seeded and unseeded teams based on their club coefficient. The first legs were played on 20 August, and the second legs were played on 25 and 27 August 2009.
† Order of legs reversed after original draw.
Note 1: The match was abandoned at 0–2 in the 88th minute after one Dinamo București fan entered the playing field and other fans invaded the running track around the pitch. The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body awarded a default 0–3 defeat against Dinamo during an emergency meeting on 25 August. After advancing to the group stage, Dinamo were punished by having their first two home matches in the group stage played behind closed doors.
Location of teams of the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League
Red: Group A;
Yellow: Group B;
Green: Group C;
Dark green: Group D;
Purple: Group E;
Pink: Group F;
Blue: Group G;
Orange: Group H;
Brown: Group I;
Deep pink: Group J;
Cyan: Group K;
Spring green: Group L.
The draw for the group stage was held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on 28 August 2009. A total of 48 teams were drawn into twelve groups of four. Teams were divided into four pots, based on their club coefficient. Clubs from the same pot or the same association cannot be drawn into the same group.
In each group, teams played against each other home-and-away. The matchdays were 17 September, 1 October, 22 October, 5 November, 2–3 December, and 16–17 December 2009. The top two in each group advanced to the knockout phase. If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings:
- higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
- higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- superior goal difference from all group matches played;
- higher number of goals scored;
- higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.
During this stage of the tournament, matches featured five on-field officials – with two additional officials monitoring play around the penalty area as part of a FIFA-sanctioned experiment.
|Key to colours in group tables
|Group winners and runners-up advance to the round of 32
Note 2: On 29 October 2009, UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body ruled that Dinamo Zagreb would have to play their next two home matches in the UEFA Europa League behind closed doors due to the actions of their supporters in their match at Timișoara. They also deducted three points from the Croatian club's points tally in Group A. The club appealed, but the appeal was not heard until after the first closed-doors game against Ajax. After the appeal was heard, UEFA replaced the three point deduction with a €75,000 fine, and a three-year suspended ban from European competition, while the two-match stadium ban remained unchanged.
| CSKA Sofia
In the knockout phase, teams play against each other over two legs on a home-and-away basis, except for the one-match final.
The draw for the round of 32 and round of 16 was held on 18 December 2009, conducted by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino and UEFA Director of Competitions Giorgio Marchetti. In the round of 32, the group winners and the four better third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage, which would play the second leg at home, were drawn against the group runners-up and the other four third-placed Champions League teams, with the restriction that teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn with each other. In the round of 16, there were no seedings, and teams from the same group or the same association may be drawn with each other.
The draw for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final (to determine the "home" team) was held on 19 March 2010, conducted by UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti and the ambassador for the Hamburg final, Uwe Seeler. Same as the round of 16, there were no seedings, and teams from the same group or the same association may be drawn with each other.
Round of 32
The first legs were played on 16 and 18 February, and the second legs were played on 23 and 25 February 2010.
Round of 16
The first legs were played on 11 March, and the second legs were played on 18 March 2010.
The first legs were played on 1 April, and the second legs were played on 8 April 2010.
The first legs were played on 22 April, and the second legs were played on 29 April 2010.
The final of the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League was played at the HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg, Germany, on 12 May 2010. This was the second time the home stadium of Hamburger SV hosted a UEFA final, the first being the second leg of the 1982 UEFA Cup Final. Due to UEFA rules banning corporate sponsorship outside the confederation, the stadium was referred to by UEFA as "Hamburg Arena". The match was won by Atlético Madrid.
Top scorers and assists (excluding qualifying rounds and play-off round):