Champions League, Europa League: A guide to soccer this spring

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In soccer there are no “playoffs” or “championship” games. It is like a college football conference without a title game, the club with the most points at end of the season is the champion. That doesn’t mean the season isn’t with out a thrilling finish, like Week 17 in the NFL. On the final day of the season in the English Premier League all 20 teams play on the same day, at the same time.

Aside from that there are several large tournaments. The UEFA Champions League picks back up in February. Group play wrapped up in December.

First Round 1st leg: February 18-26, 2014
First Round 2nd leg: March 11-19, 2014
Quarter-finals 1st leg: April 1-2, 2014
Quarter-finals 2nd leg: April 8-9, 2014
Semi-finals 1st leg: April 22-23, 2014
Semi-finals 2nd leg: April 29-30, 2014
Final: May 24, 2014

There is the UEFA Super Cup (where the 2014 winner plays the 2013 winner): 12 August 2014.

Then there is the Europa League, and for those unfamiliar with the tournament it is also a European wide tournament like Champions League but less prestigious. To make a comparison to American sports, if Champions League is the NCAA March Madness Tournament, Europa League is the NIT.

It gets interesting after the group state because there aren’t a lot of well-known teams in the Europa League tournament at first. The teams that finish third in the Champions League group stage move over to Europa League for the knockout rounds.

First Round: February 20, 27 2014
Second Round: March 13, 20 2014
Quarter-finals: April 3, 10 2014
Semi-finals 1st leg: April 24, 2014
Semi-finals 2nd leg: May 1, 2014
Final: May 14, 2014

The FA Cup, a domestic tournament in England open to all clubs at all levels:

Fourth Round Proper: 25 January 2014
Fifth Round Proper:  15 February 2014
Sixth Round Proper: 8 March 2014
Semi Final: 12 and 13 April 2014
The Final: 17 May 2014

England also has the Capital One Cup, a more restrictive tournament like the FA Cup. It is nearly over:

Semi Final 2: January 20, 2014
Final: March 2, 2014

Spain’s domestic tournament called Copa Del Rey:

Round of 16: 14–16 January 2014
Quarter Finals: 21–23 January 2014, 28–30 January 2014
Semi Finals: 5–6 February 2014, 12–13 February 2014
Final: 19 April 2014

Germany’s domestic tournament called the DFB-Pokal:

Quarter Finals: 11–12 February 2014
Semi Finals: 15–16 April 2014
Final: 17 May 2014

Italy’s domestic tournament called the Coppa Italia:

Quarter Finals: 21-23, 29 January
Semi Finals: 5 and 12 February 2014
Final: 3 May 2014

France’s domestic tournament called Coupe de la Ligue:

Quarter Finals: 14–15 January 2014
Semi Finals: 5–6 February 2014
Final: 19 April 2014

Topics: Capital One Cup, Copa Del Rey, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League

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