Olympique Lyonnais are the next hurdle for Juventus as they bid to lift the UEFA Europa League trophy on home soil in May, but the pick of today's quarter-final draw is perhaps the meeting of two-time winners, FC Porto and Sevilla FC.
Unai Emery's Sevilla completed a thrilling comeback against local rivals Real Betis Balompié on Thursday, edging through in a penalty shoot-out. Their next task could be just as tight; it certainly was when these clubs faced off in the round of 32 three seasons ago, Porto progressing on away goals. The Portuguese side went on to pick up the trophy under André Villas-Boas but Sevilla can take heart from the fact that on both previous occasions they reached the last eight, they too went all the way.
With Sevilla in their fourth European quarter-final, Juventus are preparing for their 27th, though never in their long history in UEFA competition have the Turin team come up against seven-time French champions Lyon. The three-time winners, closing in on a third consecutive Scudetto, are seeking to become the first club since Feyenoord in 2001/02 to claim the trophy in their own stadium.
AZ Alkmaar and SL Benfica will also lock horns for the first time following Friday's draw in Nyon, in the only tie not involving former winners. Both have plenty of pedigree, though. The Dutch side were runners-up in 1980/81 and are coached by Dick Advocaat, who won this competition with FC Zenit in 2008. Two-time European champions Benfica are in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the fourth time in five seasons.
FC Basel 1893 are the only other survivors from the same stage last term, and their reward for coming from 1-0 and a man down to beat FC Salzburg is a tussle with 2003/04 winners Valencia CF. The Spanish team, nine UEFA Europa League games unbeaten since losing their first fixture to Swansea City AFC, have won three of the clubs' four previous encounters, drawing the other.
"We are now only 12 games away from the final, which will be played at the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday 14 May," said UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, who conducted the draw in Nyon with director of club competitions Giorgio Marchetti and final ambassador Ciro Ferrara. "It is a great venue for the final and all the clubs will now have the clear objective of being there."
Quarter-finals (3 & 10 April, kick-off at 21.05CET)
AZ Alkmaar (NED) v SL Benfica (POR)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) v Juventus (ITA)
FC Basel 1893 (SUI) v Valencia CF (ESP)
FC Porto (POR) v Sevilla FC (ESP)
The draw for the last four will be made in Nyon on Friday 11 April, with the ties being played on 24 April and 1 May. This year's final takes place at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Wednesday 14 May.
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