Europa League draw-Man United handed favourable opponents


The Europa League draw has thrown up some interesting clashes, with a handful of talented teams surely looking at the tournament as a real chance of silverware this term.

Manchester United will be favourites to progress from the round of 32 with after being pitted against Danish minnows FC Midtylland.

Louis van Gaal’s men will still be rueing not progressing from a manageable Champions League pool, with defeat in their last game against Wolfsburg condemning the Red Devils to Europe’s second-tier tournament.

However, the Dutch trainer has the chance to regain a feel-good factor at Old Trafford by progressing in the Europa League, with the Scandinavians not the most daunting opponent.

Tottenham will come face-to-face with the team that knocked them out of the tournament last season, with a reunion against Fiorentina to take place.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men look more assured and solid this term, but the Italian side have also progressed under Paulo Sousa and are in the higher echelons of Serie A after a good start.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have mixed emotions as he takes his side to Germany to face Augsburg in a potential banana-skin clash.

The Bundesliga side have been quiet achievers in recent seasons, but the former Borussia Dortmund trainer will know them well from his time at Signal Iduna Park.

Klopp’s former club have been drawn in arguably the most mouth-watering clash of the round, with Dortmund to face up against Porto.

The Portuguese powerhouses dropped down from the Champions League and it is fair to assume that the winner of this clash will be one of the frontrunners to win the entire tournament.

Italian side Lazio will have to storm a volatile reception in their first-leg away clash with Galatasaray, while Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk look evenly matched.

German side Bayer Leverkusen were unlucky to be knocked out of the Champions League and have been handed a very tricky tie in the form of in-form Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon.

There could well be a tetchy atmosphere on the terraces as Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow have been paired with Turks Fenerbahce, with their respective host nations at loggerheads politically.

Napoli have put forward a case to be considered as possible Italian champions this term, but their match-up with Villarreal looks set to be very tight.

Sevilla will fancy their chances of ousting Norwegians Molde, while Gary Neville’s Valencia are favourites against Rapid Vienna.

From the remaining fixtures, Olympiakos, Saint-Etienne, Braga and Kuban Krasnodar are likely to progress.


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