Valencia CF and Villarreal CF will meet Besiktas JK and Galatasaray SK in the UEFA Cup third round.
Valencia defeated Maccabi Haifa FC 4-0 on the night and on aggregate yesterday to advance to a meeting with Besiktas, who were denied a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday by AC Sparta Praha's late goal against S.S. Lazio. Villarreal face an equally tough test against Galatasaray, while RCD Mallorca were drawn against FC Spartak Moskva.
Speaking to uefa.com, Besiktas sport director Erdil Arpaci said: "When we came to this draw we knew that all of our possible opponents were very competitive. Our experience from the Champions League from this and last season will help us. Our team is building and is steadily gathering experience." Valencia beat Besiktas 5-3 on aggregate when the sides met at this stage in 1996/97 and club director Francisco Real said: "They were one of the teams we didn't want to face and we had real difficulty beating them last time. They are a big team and it will be tough."
Intertoto Cup winners
The fourth Spanish team in the hat, FC Barcelona, will take on Denmark's Brøndby IF in what was the first match drawn. The second pitted SL Benfica against Norwegian champions Rosenborg BK. Like Villarreal, AC Perugia qualified from the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and their reward is a tie against PSV Eindhoven.
Liverpool FC, four-times champions of Europe, will square off against PFC Levski Sofia. The Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said: "It's not by any stretch of the imagination the worst trip we could have had." Konstantin Bazhdekov, the Levski executive director, said: "It is a very difficult draw but it's very exciting for Bulgarian football to see where our level is. Liverpool is a very good test to see how good we are."
Celtic FC, finalists last season, play FK Teplice, following their exit from the UEFA Champions League. Other eye-catching ties include French high-fliers FC Sochaux Montbéliard against Internazionale FC, and Gaziantepspor against AS Roma.
Bernard Genghini, sport manager of Sochaux, conquerors of BV Borussia Dortmund in the last round, said : "After Dortmund, now Inter. We're lucky! But when you see who are the seeded teams we're not surprised. The win against Dortmund has made us more confident and it's another step. It's good Italians don't know any of our players - they will wary of us."
The first legs will be played on 26 February, with the returns following on 3 March. The full draw can be accessed here (Adobe Acrobat required).