Europa League re­turns to­day

Times Colonist - - Sports -

DUS­SEL­DORF, Ger­many — It’s been five months since the last games, but Euro­pean con­ti­nen­tal club soc­cer is fi­nally back. The Europa League restarts to­day with the round of 16.

Manch­ester United and Bayer Lev­erkusen are among the teams play­ing the second legs of matchups sus­pended in time by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Those second legs will still be played at clubs’ home sta­di­ums be­fore the win­ners head to Ger­many for a new knock­out tour­na­ment for­mat. All games will be played with­out spec­ta­tors.

Getafe and In­ter Mi­lan will be the first teams to play at the UEFA tour­na­ment venues when they meet on Wed­nes­day in Gelsenkirc­hen.

They’re play­ing their last-16 fix­ture over a sin­gle leg be­cause they didn’t com­plete a first leg in March be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion was sus­pended. Sevilla and Roma play on Thurs­day in Duis­burg.

Manch­ester United should have no trou­ble book­ing its place in the quar­ter-fi­nals. Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s team holds a 5-0 lead from its first leg against Aus­trian team LASK Linz go­ing into the second leg in Manch­ester to­day.

Shakhtar Donetsk is hop­ing to con­vert a 2-1 ad­van­tage over Wolfs­burg into a win, while Is­tan­bul Basak­se­hir holds a 1-0 lead over Copen­hagen.

On Thurs­day, Wolver­hamp­ton tries to keep up its best Euro­pean run since reach­ing the fi­nal of the then-UEFA Cup in 1972. It’s at 1-1 with Greek club Olympiakos after the first leg.

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