With five matches already played in the UEFA Europa League Group Stage, several teams have already clinched their place in the next round.
With top-tier teams like Valencia, Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla facing no trouble to advance to the next round, the second stage of the tournament could have some interesting draws, as world class team will feature in the Round of 32.
One team that has caught everybody’s attention, however, is Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.
The energy-drink outfit remains undefeated through the first five matches of the competition, and they already secured their place in the next round in a Group that also featured Esbjerg FB, Standard Liège and IF Elfsborg. While it’s true that it was a very even zone before the start to the tournament, nobody expected the Salzburg side to be this dominant early on.
RB Salzburg has already scored 12 goals and they have received only three, giving them a +9 goal differential. They don’t feature any ‘big names’ in their roster, but they do have some interesting elements, like Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano, Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mané and Peruvian youngster Yordy Reyna, that have led the team to a perfect record in Europe this year.
It remains to be seen how the team will respond against top opposition and if they can advance to the final stages of the tournament, something that seems unlikely with the presence of teams like Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven or Fiorentina. But their play in the Group Stage has been very surprising, and if they’re able to keep it up, they could turn a few heads as the competition progresses.