|Runners-up Athletic Bilbao|
Dates 15 Sep 2011 – 9 May 2012
Goals scored 585
|Champion Atlético Madrid|
Top scorer Radamel Falcao
Matches played 205
|Teams 48+8 (competition proper)
161+33 (total) (from 53 associations)|
Champions Atlético Madrid (2nd title)
Similar 2012–13 UEFA Europa L, 2010–11 UEFA Europa L, 2009–10 UEFA Europa L, 2013–14 UEFA Europa L, 2007–08 UEFA Cup
The 2011–12 UEFA Europa League was the third season of the UEFA Europa League, Europe's secondary club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 41st edition overall including its predecessor, the UEFA Cup. It began on 30 June 2011 with the first legs of the first qualifying round, and ended on 9 May 2012 with the final held at Arena Națională in Bucharest, Romania. As part of a trial that started in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League, two extra officials – one on each goal line – were used in all matches of the competition from the group stage.
- Association team allocation
- Association ranking
- Redistribution rules
- Round and draw dates
- Qualifying rounds
- First qualifying round
- Second qualifying round
- Third qualifying round
- Play off round
- Group stage
- Knockout phase
- Round of 32
- Round of 16
- Quarter finals
- Semi finals
Atlético Madrid won the title, defeating Athletic Bilbao 3–0 in an all-Spanish final. Porto were the defending champions, but they were beaten by Manchester City in the Round of 32.
Association team allocation
A total of 194 teams from 53 UEFA associations participated in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League. Associations are allocated places according to their 2010 UEFA country coefficients, which takes into account their performance in European competitions from 2005–06 to 2009–10.
Below is the qualification scheme for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League:
Since the winners of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League, Porto, qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League through domestic performance, the title holder spot reserved for them in the group stage was vacated. As a result, the following changes to the default allocation system were made to compensate for the vacant title holder spot in the group stage:
A Europa League place is vacated when a team qualifies for both the Champions League and the Europa League, or qualifies for the Europa League by more than one method. When a place is vacated, it is redistributed within the national association by the following rules:
The labels in the parentheses show how each team qualified for the place of its starting round:
Round and draw dates
All draws held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland unless stated otherwise.
Matches in the qualifying, play-off, and knockout rounds may also be played on Tuesdays or Wednesdays instead of the regular Thursdays due to scheduling conflicts.
In the qualifying rounds and the play-off round, teams were divided into seeded and unseeded teams based on their 2011 UEFA club coefficients, and then drawn into two-legged home-and-away ties. Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
First qualifying round
The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds was held on 20 June 2011. The first legs were played on 30 June, and the second legs were played on 7 July 2011.
Second qualifying round
The first legs were played on 14 July, and the second legs were played on 21 July 2011.
Third qualifying round
The draw for the third qualifying round was held on 15 July 2011. The first legs were played on 26 and 28 July, and the second legs were played on 4 August 2011.
The draw for the play-off round was held on 5 August 2011. The first legs were played on 18 August, and the second legs were played on 25 August 2011.
The group stage features 48 teams, which were allocated into pots based on their 2011 UEFA club coefficients, and then drawn into twelve groups of four. Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other. The draw was held on 26 August 2011 in Monaco.
In each group, teams play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format. The matchdays are 15 September, 29 September, 20 October, 3 November, 30 November – 1 December, and 14–15 December 2011. The group winners and runners-up advanced to the round of 32, where they were joined by the 8 third-placed teams from the group stage of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League.
If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings (in descending order):
- higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
- higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- If, after applying criteria 1) to 4) to several teams, two teams still have an equal ranking, the criteria 1) to 4) will be reapplied to determine the ranking of these teams;
- superior goal difference from all group matches played;
- higher number of goals scored from all group matches played;
- higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.
A total of 24 national associations are represented in this group stage (including Scotland after Celtic were reinstated into the Europa League over Sion), with England having the most teams, with four.
In the knockout phase, teams play against each other over two legs on a home-and-away basis, except for the one-match final. The draw for the round of 32 and round of 16 was held on 16 December 2011. The draws for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final (to determine the "home" team) were held on 16 March 2012. Both draws were assisted by Romanian footballer Miodrag Belodedici, the ambassador for the 2012 final.
In the draw for the round of 32, the twelve group winners and the four better third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage (based on their match record in the group stage) are seeded, and the twelve group runners-up and the other four third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage are unseeded. A seeded team is drawn against an unseeded team, with the seeded team hosting the second leg. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn against each other. In the draws for the round of 16 onwards, there are no seedings, and teams from the same group or the same association may be drawn with each other.
Round of 32
The first legs were played on 14 and 16 February, and the second legs were played on 22 and 23 February 2012.
Round of 16
The first legs were played on 8 March, and the second legs were played on 15 March 2012.
The first legs were played on 29 March, and the second legs on 5 April 2012.
The first legs were played on 19 April, and the second legs were played on 26 April 2012.
The 2012 UEFA Europa League Final was played on 9 May 2012 at the Arena Națională in Bucharest, Romania.
Excluding qualifying rounds and play-off round.