The field has narrowed to 16 teams in the UEFA Europa League following Thursday's games and the victors can already begin dreaming of the next round, with a number of prestigious ties in prospect.
Two former European champions will lock horns when swashbuckling SL Benfica take on Olympique de Marseille, in a tie that reunites Benfica forward Javier Saviola with his old coach at AS Monaco FC, Didier Deschamps. Both clubs hope to appear in the Hamburg final and so, naturally, do home side Hamburger SV, who face RSC Anderlecht in a repeat of the 1977 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup showpiece, which the German club won 2-0.
Liverpool FC have appeared in their fair share of European finals and they will be looking to take a step closer to yet another when they face LOSC Lille Métropole. Their Premier League compatriots Fulham FC are also involved after collecting the notable scalp of last season's UEFA Cup winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk, and they come up against Serie A titans Juventus. Among the other ties that catch the eye, Valencia CF take on Werder Bremen and Club Atlético de Madrid meet Sporting Clube de Portugal.
The round of 16 ties will be played on 11 and 18 March with the winners progressing to the draw for the rest of the competition, which takes place in Nyon from 13.00CET on 19 March. The quarter-finals will be played on 1 and 8 April, the semis on 22 and 29 April and the Hamburg final on Wednesday 12 May.
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