The draw for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League in Monaco has produced a number of fascinating ties with Panathinaikos FC paired with Galatasaray SK in Group F and former European Champion Clubs' Cup winners Hamburger SV up against Celtic FC in Group C. For the full draw and fixture list, click here.
Meanwhile, the last winners of the UEFA Cup, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, will continue their bid to become the first team to be crowned champions of that competition's successor against Club Brugge KV, FK Partizan and Toulouse FC. Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar have been placed in Group J, one of 12 pools of four in the rejuvenated competition. The side Shakhtar beat in Istanbul in May, Werder Bremen, will take on FK Austria Wien, Athletic Club Bilbao and CD Nacional in Group L.
Former champions meet
Four-time European champions AFC Ajax have been pitted with RSC Anderlecht, NK Dinamo Zagreb and FC Timişoara in a tough-looking Group A, and they are by no means the only stellar name in the hat. Five other former European Club Cup winners are also in contention, with two being placed in Group C: Celtic and Hamburg. The latter will have their sights on reaching the final at their home ground on 12 May and, as well as Celtic, will meet Israeli representatives Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC and SK Rapid Wien.
Other interesting match-ups include Panathinaikos versus Galatasaray and former European champions SL Benfica against Everton FC. Italian clubs tackling teams from Spain was a theme of Thursday's UEFA Champions League draw and it continued today with Villarreal CF facing S.S. Lazio in Group G. Group rivals play each other home and away with the top two in each pool progressing to the Round of 32 in February along with the sides finishing third in the UEFA Champions League groups. Matches will take place on 17 September, 1 and 22 October, 5 November, 2/3 and 16/17 December. In the Round of 32 and Round of 16 draws in Nyon on 18 December, the top two from the groups will be joined by eight third-placed UEFA Champions League teams.
|2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage|
|Group A||Group B|
|AFC Ajax (NED)||Valencia CF (ESP)|
|RSC Anderlecht (BEL)||LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA)|
|NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)||SK Slavia Praha (CZE)|
|FC Timişoara (ROU)||Genoa CFC (ITA)|
|Group C||Group D|
|Hamburger SV (GER)||Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)|
|Celtic FC (SCO)||SC Heerenveen (NED)|
|Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)||Hertha BSC Berlin (GER)|
|SK Rapid Wien (AUT)||FK Ventspils (LVA)|
|Group E||Group F|
|AS Roma (ITA)||Panathinaikos FC (GRE)|
|FC Basel 1893 (SUI)||Galatasaray SK (TUR)|
|Fulham FC (ENG)||FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti (ROU)|
|PFC CSKA Sofia (BUL)||SK Sturm Graz (AUT)|
|Group G||Group H|
|Villarreal CF (ESP)||FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU)|
|S.S. Lazio (ITA)||Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)|
|PFC Levski Sofia (BUL)||FC Twente (NED)|
|FC Salzburg (AUT)||FC Sheriff (MDA)|
|Group I||Group J|
|SL Benfica (POR)||FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)|
|Everton FC (ENG)||Club Brugge KV (BEL)|
|AEK Athens FC (GRE)||FK Partizan (SRB)|
|FC BATE Borisov (BLR)||Toulouse FC (FRA)|
|Group K||Group L|
|PSV Eindhoven (NED)||Werder Bremen (GER)|
|FC København (DEN)||FK Austria Wien (AUT)|
|AC Sparta Praha (CZE)||Athletic Club Bilbao (ESP)|
|CFR 1907 Cluj (ROU)||CD Nacional (POR)|
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