The round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League kicks off, with one fixture taking place on Wednesday followed by seven exciting fixtures on Thursday. Here is everything you need to know about the first-leg fixtures.

The UEFA Europa League round of 16 is finally here. 16 teams will battle it out across two legs with the hopes of reaching the quarterfinal stage of this beloved competition. The actions kicks off on Wednesday, with one match being scheduled a day before the usual Thursday slot, with that game being Sporting CP's showdown with Atalanta.

The remaining seven games will be played on Thursday, with three taking place at 12:45 p.m. ET while the other four commence at 3 p.m. ET. A handful of European heavyweights will be involved in this round, including Premier League leaders Liverpool, Serie A powerhouses AC Milan, and Bundesliga title favorites Bayer Leverkusen.

Here is everything you need to know about the first-leg fixtures.

Broadcast information for the UEFA Europa League in the USA

CBS Sports offers a multiplatform coverage of the 2023-24 UEFA Europa League season, with Paramount+ streaming all the games in this competition — as well as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa Conference League — live for fans in the USA. Select matches will also be available on CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports Golazo Network, the free 24-hour football streaming network.

TelevisaUnivision also has broadcasting rights for European football, which means fans in the USA will get Spanish-language coverage of the UEFA Europa League through TUDN USAUnivisionUniMás, and ViX

2023-24 UEFA Europa League round of 16 match-ups

  • Sporting CP vs. Atalanta
  • Roma vs. Brighton
  • Sparta Praha vs. Liverpool
  • Qarabag vs. Leverkusen
  • AC Milan vs. Slavia Praha
  • SC Freiburg vs. West Ham
  • Benfica vs. Rangers
  • Marseille vs. Villarreal

Top games to watch in the 1st leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 16

Sporting CP vs. Atalanta

Kicking off the UEFA Europa League round of 16 is this showdown between Sporting CP and Atalanta, with the Portuguese heavyweights hosting their Italian rivals on Wednesday. The Lions enter this match on the back of their 3-2 victory over Farense during the weekend, a result which saw Ruben Amorim's men go top of the league. Additionally, Sporting have lost only once in their last 18 fixtures across all competitions.

Atalanta, on the other hand, enter this game on the back of a two-game losing streak, suffering back-to-back defeats in the league against Inter Milan and Bologna. However, La Dea have already faced Sporting CP this season, locking horns with Amorim's side both home and away in the group stage, with Gian Piero Gasperini's men going unbeaten against the Portuguese giants (W1, D1).

Roma vs. Brighton

One of the standout games of this round will see Roma and Brighton battle it out for a spot in the quarterfinals. The Italian outfit have the home advantage and will look to continue their spectacular form, having won all but two out of 10 games since Daniele de Rossi was appointed as interim manager.

The Seagulls, on the other hand, have been struggling lately, winning only one of their last five matches, with that sole victory coming against relegation-battling Sheffield United. However, unlike Roma, Brighton won their group and were thus awarded a bye to the round of 16. Can they add the Giallorossi to their list of victims?

Sparta Praha vs. Liverpool

Liverpool will be in action in Europe this midweek but will have one eye on the weekend. While the Reds kick off their round of 16 campaign this Thursday, Klopp's men will also be in for a thrilling weekend fixture, hosting Manchester City on Sunday in the Premier League. Regardless, the best way to prepare for that crucial showdown is by winning this Europa League tie and keeping the momentum going.

Slavia Praha are also on a roll domestically, sitting top of the Czech top flight with a four-point advantage. However, the hosts do not enter this game on the back of a win, having drawn nil-nil with nearest rivals Sparta Prague over the weekend. However, due to Liverpool's injury crisis, the visitors are expected to rotate heavily, which gives Sparta Praha a huge advantage.

Benfica vs. Rangers

Two beloved clubs face off in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, with both sides entering this game on the back of frustrating defeats. For Benfica, that came in the Primeira Liga, with the Eagles suffering an embarrassing and unforgettable 5-0 thrashing against bitter rivals Porto, with that result knocking Roger Schmidt's side off the top of the table.

Rangers, on the other hand, suffered a shocking 2-1 loss at home to Motherwell. While the Gers remain top of the Scottish Premiership table, their lead has been slashed to a mere two points and will thus be desperately looking to return to winning ways.

Who's in and who's out?

Here are the players unavailable for the top teams in the UEFA Europa League round of 16:

Sporting CP: Antonio Adan (injured); Goncalo Inacio (doubtful)

Atalanta: Emil Holm (absent)

Roma: Tammy Abraham and Rick Karsdorp (injured); Rasmus Kristensen (suspended)

Brighton: Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma, Joao Pedro, Billy Gilmour, and James Milner (injuries)

Liverpool: Joel Matip, Stefan Bajcetic, Alisson, Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones, Thiago, and Ryan Gravenberch (injuries)

Benfica: Juan Bernat (injured)

Rangers: Danilo, Kieran Dowell, Abdallah Sima, Rabbi Matondo, Todd Cantwell, and Oscar Cortes (injured)

West Ham: Maxwel Cornet (injury)

AC Milan: Tommaso Pobega (injured) 

Leverkusen: Victor Boniface and Arthur (injured)

Full list of games for the UEFA Europa League round of 16 (1st leg)