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Athletic meet HJK, Liverpool tackle Hearts

Beaten finalists last term, Athletic Club were paired with HJK Helsinki in the UEFA Europa League play-off draw which pitted Liverpool FC against British rivals Heart of Midlothian FC.

Athletic meet HJK, Liverpool tackle Hearts
Athletic meet HJK, Liverpool tackle Hearts ©UEFA.com

Runners-up last season, Athletic Club will continue their bid to return to the UEFA Europa League group stage with a tie against HJK Helsinki, while Liverpool FC were paired with Heart of Midlothian FC in today's play-off draw.

Athletic advanced on aggregate despite losing at NK Slaven Koprivnica in Thursday's second leg of their third qualifying round tie and now face HJK, one of 14 eliminated clubs who transferred into this competition from the equivalent stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Hearts will hope for a better outcome against Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool than the 5-0 aggregate defeat they suffered against another English side, Tottenham Hotspur FC, at this juncture 12 months ago. Liverpool's fellow three-time UEFA Cup winners, FC Internazionale Milano, play SC Vaslui.

With the 2013 final taking place in Amsterdam, the five Dutch teams involved have extra incentive to reach the 15 May showpiece at the home of AFC Ajax. PSV Eindhoven begin their quest against Montenegro's FK Zeta – the lowest-ranked side in the 62-team draw – AZ Alkmaar tackle Guus Hiddink's FC Anji Makhachkala, fair-play entrants FC Twente take on Bursaspor, Feyenoord encounter AC Sparta Praha and sc Heerenveen meet Molde FK.

Like Twente and Zeta, Slovenian outfit ND Mura 05 (drawn against S.S. Lazio) and Rosenborg BK (Legia Warszawa) have progressed from the first qualifying round. F91 Dudelange, the first club from Luxembourg to get to this stage, were paired with Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.

The fixtures will be played over two legs on 23 and 30 August. The winners will join the ten defeated sides from the UEFA Champions League play-offs in the group stage, which starts on 20 September. The group stage draw is scheduled for 31 August in Monaco's Grimaldi Forum.

UEFA Europa League play-off draw
FC Anji Makhachkala (RUS) v AZ Alkmaar (NED)
Atromitos FC (GRE) v Newcastle United FC (ENG)
Tromsø IL (NOR) v FK Partizan (SRB)
FC Vaslui (ROU) v FC Internazionale Milano (ITA)

Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO) v Liverpool FC (ENG)
Athletic Club (ESP) v HJK Helsinki (FIN)
CS Marítimo (POR) v FC Dila Gori (GEO)
Molde FK (NOR) v sc Heerenveen (NED)
Debreceni VSC (HUN) v Club Brugge KV (BEL)

FC Sheriff (MDA) v Olympique de Marseille (FRA)
Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR) v Videoton FC (HUN)
FC Midtjylland (DEN) v BSC Young Boys (SUI)
WKS Śląsk Wrocław (POL) v Hannover 96 (GER)
FC Dinamo Bucureşti (ROU) v FC Metalist Kharkiv (UKR)

AC Horsens (DEN) v Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR) v F91 Dudelange (LUX)
Feyenoord (NED) v AC Sparta Praha (CZE)
Motherwell FC (SCO) v Levante UD (ESP)
FK Crvena zvezda (SRB) v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA)

KSC Lokeren OV (BEL) v FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)
S.S. Lazio (ITA) v ND Mura 05 (SVN)
AIK Solna (SWE) v PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Legia Warszawa (POL) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)
Bursaspor (TUR) v FC Twente (NED)

FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU) v FK Ekranas (LTU)
FC Slovan Liberec (CZE) v FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)
VfB Stuttgart (GER) v FC Dinamo Moskva (RUS)
PAOK FC (GRE) v SK Rapid Wien (AUT)
FC Luzern (SUI) v KRC Genk (BEL)
FK Zeta (MNE) v PSV Eindhoven (NED)

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