WHY IS BARCELONA IN THE EUROPA Explanation of UEFA's secondary tournament

They kicked off the group stages of the Champions League with successive 3-0 defeats, at home to Bayern Munich, and then away to Benfica.

Two 1-0 wins over group cellar-dweller Dynamo Kyiv were followed by a draw and a 3-0 loss to Benfica. They finished third in their group with seven points.

Due to their poor domestic form, manager Ronald Koeman was sacked in late October. Barracuda's European campaign was doomed after Xavi was brought in late.

Xavi's side are fourth in the table, with mixed results. A top-four finish in La Liga would also guarantee Barcelona Champions League eligibility next season.

This is the first time since the 2003-04 season that Barcelona is not playing in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Barcelona has never reached the second-tier final (UEFA Cup or Europa League). They lost four UEFA Cup semifinals by one goal.

Predictions are difficult because teams from the Champions League must play a playoff before reaching the Europa League Round of 16.

Many think Borussia Dortmund (+600) will win if they beat Rangers (+600). Sevilla must also beat Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League playoff.