The Europa League returned on it’s usual day of Thursday.

The Bundesliga is depleted in it’s representation in the Europa League this season, compared to last season. This season we saw Hertha Berlin bow out in the Qualifying Rounds.

But we saw the return of Schalke who were in the Group Stage last year, alongside Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg.

Representing the Bundesliga in the Europa League this year are FSV Mainz and Schalke.

Mainz 05

Mainz were given a kind draw in the Europa League, they 05ers will go head to head with the likes of Anderlecht and Qabala. On Matchday 1, they host French side St.Etienne at the Opel Arena.

This season is Mainz’s first season in the Europa League after they failed to qualify in 2014, being knocked out 2-3 on aggregate by Greek side Asteras Tripoli.

However, their sixth place finish guaranteed them a route into the Europa League Group Stage. But, they couldn’t get their first Europa League and were denied the three points when St.Etienne’s Robert Beric snatched a point in the 88th minute.

Elsewhere in Group C, Anderlecht came from 1-0 down to beat Qabala 3-1.

Schalke 04

Schalke disappointed in the Europa League knockout stage last season, but their new men in charge – Christian Heidel and Markus Weinzierl – guarantee a successful season for the Royal Blues.

On paper, Schalke had a tough opening fixture against OGC Nice – currently managed by former Die Fohlen head coach Lucian Favre. Nice have been in good form this season and the Royal Blues did extremely well to secure three points in the South of France and it came from an unlikely source, Chelsea loanee Baba Rahman ensured Schalke got their Europa League campaign off to a good start.

FC Krasnodar picked up an unlikely win against Austrian side Salzburg in the other fixture.

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