Europa League Round of 16 rankings: Napoli out, Arsenal survives, Dortmund advances late

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/borussia-dortmund/" data-ylk="slk:Borussia Dortmund">Borussia Dortmund</a>’s Michy Batshuayi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos celebrate Dortmund’s progression to the Europa League round of 16. (Getty)
Borussia Dortmund’s Michy Batshuayi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos celebrate Dortmund’s progression to the Europa League round of 16. (Getty)

Borussia Dortmund joined Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and other favorites in the Europa League round of 16 thanks to a late goal from Marcel Schmelzer in Thursday’s second leg at Atalanta.

Dortmund traveled to Italy clinging to a 3-2 first-leg lead, and lost it in the first half. A Rafael Toloi goal had Atalanta level on aggregate and ahead on away goals. But Schmelzer bundled home a rebound in the 82nd minute to send the Germans through:


Elsewhere on Thursday, Arsenal went 2-0 down to lowly Ostersunds, and eventually lost 2-1 to the Swedish minnows, but advanced 4-2 on aggregate.

The competition’s best team, however, crashed out in the round of 32. Napoli went to Leipzig and won 2-0. But after a 3-1 first-leg defeat, the Serie A leaders needed one more goal to complete their turnaround, and couldn’t quite get it.

The round of 16 is now set, and matchups will be drawn Friday at 7 a.m. ET (noon GMT). Here’s a look at the 16 teams that have advanced, and where they stand in relation to one another as contenders for the Europa League crown:

EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 16 POWER RANKINGS

1. Atletico Madrid — Pretty clearly the top team left. Atleti cruised past Copenhagen, 5-1. It has only lost once all season in La Liga.

2. Lazio — As other, bigger names stumble around looking unconvincing, Lazio has replicated its strong domestic form in the Europa league. It beat Steaua Bucharest 5-2 on aggregate, and is a legitimate title contender.

3. Arsenal — Losing to Ostersunds was embarrassing. How soon will Arsene Wenger give up on the Premier League top-four chase and play his first-choice 11 in the Europa League?

4. Borussia Dortmund — Still in many ways a threadbare canvas of a team, but it’s great to have BVB still alive – especially with Marco Reus back and making plays.

5. RB Leipzig — The 3-1 win over Napoli ultimately carried the day, and it was damn impressive.

6. Lyon — Flew a bit under the radar, but a 4-1 aggregate victory over Villarreal was one of the best results of the round.

7. Sporting CP — A very potent attack put six past Astana over two legs.

8. Marseille — Beat Braga 3-1.

9. Athletic Bilbao — Held on to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 on aggregate, but the second leg was overshadowed by fan violence outside San Mames.

10. AC Milan — Beat Ludogorets Razgrad 4-0.

11. CSKA Moscow — A 1-0 aggregate triumph over Red Star Belgrade was underwhelming.

12. Zenit St. Petersburg — Overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat Celtic 3-1, and looked pretty good doing so.

13. Lokomotiv Moscow — Knocked off Nice, 4-3.

14. Dynamo Kiev — Beat AEK Athens 1-1, 1-0 on away goals. Snooze.

15. Red Bull Salzburg — One of the bigger upsets of the round … Salzburg beat Real Sociedad 4-3.

16. Viktoria Plzen — Beat Partizan Belgrade 3-1.

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW

Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 a.m. ET (noon GMT) at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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