Everton are back in Europe for a first Europa League campaign under Roberto Martinez
Everton qualified for the Uefa Europa League by virtue of finishing 5th in the Premier League with a club-record Premier League points tally of 72. They also earned the unwanted distinction of amassing the most points by a team in the era of four English qualifiers to the Champions League not to make it into the tournament.
Everton's entry into the Europa League group stage was determined in the end by the outcome of the 2014 FA Cup Final – victory for Arsenal, who have already qualified for the Champions League by virtue of finishing 4th, sending the Blues straight into the group stage.
Having missed out on European competition for the past five seasons, Everton's Uefa Ranking coefficient has fallen and the club is now ranked 82nd with a ranking coefficient of 24.949. A club's ranking coefficient is based on their performance in European competition over the previous five seasons – or, in their absence, the how well teams from the club's home country did in Europe – and is used to determine seeding when it comes to drawing for the ties in each phase of the competition.
For Everton, the sum of their team coefficients each of the last five seasons is as follows. In each of the last four seasons, we were assigned England's country co-efficient.
The Uefa country coefficient for a given season is determined by the number of points earned by teams from that country playing in Europe, divided by the number of participating teams.
The team coefficient in a given season is determined by the number of points earned through participation in the European competitions proper, added to 33% of the country average. The 33% of the country average represents the base value of the team coefficient for any team from that country in a given season in which they did not compete. If they did compete, then their points earned are added to the country coefficient for that season.
The 48 remaining clubs at this stage were drawn into twelve groups of four in Monaco on 29 August 2014. Everton wer drawn into Group H against Wolfsburg, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, Lille, who finished third in Ligue 1, and FK Krasnodar from Russia.
*Groups listed in order of seeding by pot. Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn into the same group.
At this stage, the traditional two-match knockout format is resumed until the single-match final. In a continuation of Uefa's controversial insistence on stacking he deck in favour of the elite, eight (8) clubs who were eliminated in third position in their Champions League groups get a European safety net with entry to Round 2 (the round of 32) of the Europa League, throwing yet more tough opposition into the mix.
The 12 Europa League group winners (including Everton) and the four best teams dropping out of the Champions League were seeded for the draw for the Round of 32. Of the 8 teams dropping out of the Champions League, four were seeded alongside Everton and four were not. Liverpool were unseeded but the "same country" protection means that the Blues were kept apart from the reds and Tottenham as well as Wolfsburg, the runners-up in Group H, in the first knockout round. (There are no such protections and no seeding for the remaining rounds of the competition.)Everton's potential opponents in the Round of 32 were Anderlecht, Ajax and Roma, Villarreal, Torino, Celtic, PSV Eindhoven, Dnipro, Sevilla, Young Boys, Aalborg, Guingamp and, Trabzonspor.
The draw for the Round of 32 took place at 12pm UK time on Monday, 15 December and Everton were the first seeded team out of the pot, paired with BSC Young Boys of Switzerland.
Matches were be played on 19th and 26th February, with seeded teams (again, including Everton) playing away in the first leg. Everton won 4-1 in Bern behind a hat-trick from Romelu Lukaku and the Belgian added two more in the second leg as the Blues won 3-1 and 7-2 on aggregate.
The draw for the Round of 16 took place at 12pm UK time on Friday 27 February. With no seeding for the remainder of the competition and Everton were in the draw with Ajax Amsterdam, Besiktas, Club Brugge, Dinamo Moscow, Dnipro, Dynamo Kyiv, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Napoli, Roma, Sevilla, Torino, Villarreal, Wolfsburg and Zenit St Petersburg.
With Russian clubs deliberately separated from those in Ukraine because of the ongoing conflict between the two countries, Dynamo Kyiv and Dnipro were put into a separate pot from which one was selected to begin the draw. Dynamo Kyiv were the team drawn and Everton was the first name drawn from the rest, pitting the Blues against the Ukrainian league leaders.
The first leg at Goodison Park takes place on 12th March, with the return leg in Kyiv scheduled for 19th March pending a Uefa investigation into crowd disturbances in Dynamo's Round of 32 match with Guingamp from France which had to be suspended for 15 minutes.
Quarter-finals: 20 March
Semi-finals: 24 April
The Europa League final will be played at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland, on 27 May 2015.
The winners of the Europa League will be rewarded with a place in the 2015-16 Champions League, with the timing of their entry dependent on the winners of the 2014-15 Champions League. If the CL winners qualify automatically for the group stage through their domestic League finish, then the 2014-15 EL winners will also go straight into the CL group stage in 2015.