Adjust your calendars we are going to Belarus!

UEFA held their Europa League draw and Arsenal, the töp seed with a UEFA Coefficient of 105, were paired with Köln, BATE Borisov, and Red Star Belgrade.

Travel to these matches isn’t going to be nearly as bad as some feared.

The furthest opponent is BATE in Belarus. Arsenal supporters should remember Belarus, it is the home of Hleb. Which is also the Russian word for bread. Arsenal play BATE on Thursday September 28th with a… 10am PST kickoff time. Arsenal should be able to master BATE easily (got that out of the way, no need to ever make that joke again.)

On October 19th, Arsenal travel to Serbia and play Red Star Belgrade. Unlike Arsenal, Red Star Belgrade has won the Champions League, beating Marseilles on penalties in 1991. Serbian football is known for it’s crazy ultras who will light up the night sky with flares.

And one month later, on Thanksgiving, November 23rd (there’s a misprint on the site), Arsenal travel to the ancestral home of full time joker, part-time former footballer, Lukas Podolski: Koln. Koln is known for the fact that English speakers add an extra syllable to the pronunciation for no good reason and also its local beer specialty: Kolsch.

This shouldn’t be a difficult group for Arsenal. Unless Wenger sells off all the players in the next week or so.



  1. Hopefully our B team can handle these games and we don’t need to expose our top players to Ludogorets style tackles.

  2. Expecting us to scrape through the group and get dumped out in the first knockout round.

  3. I dispute this statement:
    “Koln is known for the fact that English speakers add an extra syllable to the pronunciation for no good reason.”

    Cologne or Köln in German, comes from the Latin Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. Here, English seems more conservative than the German, likely because we use the French word for Köln, and in many cases, French orthography is more conservative than German. See also: Munich and Lucerne.

    1. I love this comment!

      Does the dropping of the extra syllable (is the German pronunciation a monosyllable?) due to usage, in the same way that English started to lose inflections and syllables over time? But in a foreign tongue, like French or English, where it doesn’t appear as frequently, it doesn’t have the time as it does in German to migrate to a pronunciation that doesn’t work the mouth as much?

      1. The German pronunciation is monosyllabic, and given that evolution of languages most often begins with usage, I would say that yes, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium-> Colonia-> Koln happened at the level of speech (Can you imagine having to say you’re from Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium? Insane.)

        That’s an interesting idea, but I add something to it. The reason the French kept it as Cologne was more due to fact that Latin remained the dominant written language even after Koln lost its Roman garrison. French became the dominant language of state (and remained so for a long time) and we know French stays more closely tied to Latin as it was written. The French version was probably written more than spoken and Koln natives were probably doing most of the speaking. So, in a way yeah, but I don’t think the frequency/time piece is as important as the written/spoken bit.

    2. Very interesting! I presume “Cologne” would still be a misnomer though as that spelling is not specific to the origin of the settlement.

      1. True, but we rarely use Latin toponyms as originally named. Places like Lyon, Nyon (interesting right?), Leeds, London, all have changed quite a bit. One interesting pattern though, as Bun pointed out, we love to drop the case endings-most of these as written in Latin, ended in “dum.”

  4. Apparently fans will have to pay a large fee for a visa
    before travelling to Belarus. This will add to the cost
    and put many fans off making the trip

  5. If you get in and out of Belarus in 5 days visas are free. That’s something. Belgrade is a great city to party. Free visa (from UK) too.
    Both are cheap. I’m looking forward to fun filled, bargain priced, long weekends.

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