In the group stage of the Europa League, it seems that for now, before Champions League dropouts join the chase for the trophy, clubs like Lyon, Tottenham, Fiorentina and Lazio seem like the early favorites to win the trophy in the 2013-2014 season.

Other sides worth mentioning are Dynamo Kyiv, Valencia, PAOK and Real Betis, who could all potentially reach at least the quarterfinals of the competition if they take it seriously enough.

Valencia Goal

Valencia CF – The Spanish club finished 5th in the La Liga last season, earning themselves an automatic spot in the group stage. The last time they participated in the Europa League was in 2012, reaching the semifinal of the competition.

Olympique Lyon – Finished third last season in France, which gave them a spot in the Champions League qualifying, but they lost to Real Sociedad in the play-off round. Lyon participated in the Europa League last season, but were knocked out in the round of 32.

Tottenham Hotspur – Finished fifth last season in the Premier League but have spending like a Champions League club this summer. Have been in the Europa League these last couple of seasons, and last year made it all the way to the quarterfinals.

Dynamo Kyiv – The Ukrainian giants finished third last season in their league, which made them face Aktobe in the playoff round of the Europa League, having no problem beating the Kazakh club. They reached the round of 32 in the competition last season.

PSV – Finishing second in the Netherlands last season was enough for a playoff-round matchup against AC Milan which they lost. They’ve been to the Europa League for the last four years, never making it past the quarterfinals.

Bordeaux – Made it in thanks to winning the French Cup last season (finished 7th in the league). They also reached the round of 16 last season in the Europa League.

Rubin Kazan – The Russian club reached the quarterfinals of the competition last season, and finished 6th in the Russian Premier League.

Sevilla FC – Finished 9th last season but made it in thanks to Malaga being suspended from the competition. They were in the competition back in the 2011-2012 season, not making it out of the play-off. The last time they were in the group stage was in the 2010-2011 season.

Standard Liege – The Belgian club finished fourth last season, which put them through three rounds of qualifying which went quite comfortably. They last played in the competition in the 2011-2012 season, making it to the round of 16.

Fiorentina – Finished 4th last season in the Serie A. They haven’t been to Europe since the 2009-2010 season, and haven’t been in the Europa League since the 2008-2009 season, when they reached the round of 32.

Lazio – Finished 7th last season in Italy but did win the Italian Cup for the sixth time in club history. They made it to the quarterfinals of the competition last season.

APOEL F.C. – Made it in only due to Fenerbahce being banned from the competition, and getting the lucky loser card. They missed out on the group stage of the competition last season.

PAOK

PAOK – Finished second last season in Greece, and lost to Schalke in the Champions League play off round, landing them in the Europa League, where they reached the round of 32 in the 2011-2012 season.

Red Bull – Were knocked out by Fenerbahce in the Champions League qualifying, making it to the Europa League, where they reached the round of 32 in 2011-2012. Finished second last season in Austria.

KRC Genk – Finished fifth in Belgium last season but did win the Cup. They didn’t make it to the Europa League the last time they were in the playoffs (2010-2011).

Dinamo Zagreb – The Croatian champions were knocked out in the Champions League playoffs, ending their two-year streak of playing the UCL group stage.

Dnipro – Finished 4th last season in the Ukraine; They reached the round of 16 last season in the competition.

Trabzonspor – Being the runners-up in the Turkish Cup final last season was good enough to put them in the Europa League. Didn’t make it past the play-off round last year in the Europa League.

Anzhi – Finished third last season in Russia. They made it all the way to the round of 16 last season in the competition.

Betis – Finished 7th last season in Spain, but due to the Malaga suspension were bumped up into the Europa League. Haven’t been to a European competition since the 2005-2006 season.

Wigan – Were relegated from the Premier League last season, but did win the FA Cup for the first time in club history. It’ll be their first ever season in European competition.

Swansea City – The Welsh club won the League Cup in England, putting them in European competition for the first time since the Cup Winners Cup in 1992.

Freiburg – Finished a very surprising 5th last season in the Bundesliga, putting them in European competition for the first time since the 2001-2002 season.

Eintracht Frankfurt – Finished sixth last season in the Bundesliga, leading to their first European appearance since the 2006-2007 season.

Vitoria

Vitória SC – The Portuguese club won the cup last season for the first time in their history, leading to their first European appearance since the 2008-2009 season.

Legia Warszawa – The Polish champions failed to make it into the Champions League, and will play in the group stage for the second time in three years, making it to the round of 32 in 2011-2012.

Maccabi Haifa – The Israelis finished second last season in the league, making it into the group stage of the Europa League for the second time in three years.

Rapid Wien – Finished third last season in Austria, and it is their fourth consecutive season of playing the Europa League group stage, never making it into the round of 32.

Paços de Ferreira – The small Portuguese club surprised many by finishing third last season. They made it to the Europa League in 2009-2010, but never into the group stage.

Estoril – Finished fifth last season, which is enough to get in to the Europa League. It is their first ever appearance in a European competition.

Sheriff Tiraspol – The champions of Moldova, the club once again failed in making it into the Champions League. They beat Vojvodina of Serbia in order to make the Group Stage for the first time since the 2010-2011 season.

Chornomorets Odesa – The Ukrainian club finished sixth last season, making it into a European competition for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.

Maribor – The Slovenian club won the league championship last season and make it into the group stage of the Europa League for a third consecutive season.

Kuban – The Russian side finished 5th last year, putting them in European competition for the first time in club history.

IF Elfsborg – The Swedish champions in 2012, Elfsborg were knocked out of the Champions League Chelsea, and beat Nordsjælland of Denmark in order to make it in to the group stage for the first time since the 2007-2008 season.

MTA

Maccabi Tel-Aviv – The Israeli champions made it into the group stage without having to play PAOK because of Metalist being banned from European competition. They last played in the group stage in the 2011-2012 season.

Slovan Liberec – The Czech club finished 3rd last season, making it into the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.

Thun – The Swiss club finished fifth last season, and will be playing in the group stage for the first time since shocking everyone and making it into the Champions League eight years ago.

Zulte Waregem – The Belgian club finished second last season, which put them in the Champions League qualifiers from where they were knocked out. They did make the UEFA Cup round of 32 in 2006-2007, their previous and first European appearance.

Apollon Limassol – Finished 6th in Cyprus last season but did win the Cypriot Cup. They’ve never been to the group stage of the Europa League, and it is their first appearance in Europe since the 2010-2011 season.

Tromsø – The Norweigan club finished 4th last season, putting them in the group stage for the first time since the 2005-2006 season after beating Inter Baku PIKFC Differdange 03 and Besiktas.

St. Gallen – Finished a very surprising third last season in Switzerland, making it into European competition for the first time since the 2001-2002 season.

Esbjerg fB – The Danish club won the national cup last season, putting them in European competition for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.

Rijeka – The Croatian side finished third last season, putting them in European competition for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.

Pandurii Târgu Jiu – The Romanian team finished second last season in Liga I, putting them in European competition for the first time in club history, which included beating Braga of Portugal in the play-off round.

Ludogorets Razgrad – The Bulgarian champions were knocked out by Basel in the playoff round of the Champions League, making their first ever group stage appearance in the Europa League.

Shakhter Karagandy – The 2012 Kazakh champions were knocked out by Celtics in the Champions League play-off round, making it into the Europa League group stage for the first time ever.

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