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UEFA Europa League: What to look out for in the round of 16

Domènec Torrent's return to Barcelona and worrying omens for Sevilla and Porto stand out following the round of 16 draw.

Lyon coach Peter Bosz, West Ham's Tomáš Souček and Galatasaray coach Domènec Torrent
Lyon coach Peter Bosz, West Ham's Tomáš Souček and Galatasaray coach Domènec Torrent

Domènec Torrent's return to Barcelona and happy memories for Peter Bosz and Tomáš Souček leap out from the page after the UEFA Europa League round of 16 draw was made.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car presents UEFA.com's guide to the potential headline-makers.

Round of 16 ties

Rangers (SCO) vs Crvena zvezda (SRB)
Braga (POR) vs Monaco (FRA)
Porto (POR) vs Lyon (FRA)
Atalanta (ITA) vs Leverkusen (GER)
Sevilla (ESP) vs West Ham (ENG)
Barcelona (ESP) vs Galatasaray (TUR)
Real Betis (ESP) vs Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)

First legs take place on 9/10 March, with second legs on 17 March.

* Following the decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, the fixture between Leipzig and Spartak Moskva will no longer take place as scheduled. Leipzig qualify directly for the quarter-finals.

Torrent set for emotional return to Barcelona

Highlights: Galatasaray 4-2 Marseille
Highlights: Galatasaray 4-2 Marseille

It was probably written in the stars that Galatasaray coach Domènec Torrent would come face to face with Barcelona after the Spanish side made it through to the last 16 by beating Napoli in the play-off round.

Born in Catalonia, Torrent joined Pep Guardiola's staff at Barcelona B in 2007 then the first team a year later. The pair remained together at Bayern and Manchester City too, scooping 24 trophies in 11 years together before Torrent moved into the hot seat at New York City.

For all that silverware, this will be the first time Torrent has led a team out in UEFA club competition with Galatasaray looking to reach a European quarter-final for the first time since their memorable run in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League.

Porto praying Lyon coach will not Bosz them again

Highlights: Sparta Praha 3-4 Lyon
Highlights: Sparta Praha 3-4 Lyon

Porto's last Europa League campaign in 2019/20 proved to be a shorter one than they were anticipating. Having won their group, Sérgio Conceição's men looked well-placed to advance after a narrow 2-1 defeat at Leverkusen in their round of 32 first leg. The German side had previous form when it came to rattling in the goals on their travels, though, and their coach Peter Bosz masterminded another one to win the return 3-1.

Forward two years and Bosz stands in the way of the Portuguese outfit and Conceição again, having taken the reins at last-16 opponents Lyon at the start of this term. The Dutch coach can also call on the services of this season's Europa League top scorer Karl Toko Ekambi, who was also on target when these sides met in pre-season. It's not all bad new for the Dragons, though, as they ran out 5-3 winners in that friendly – another goal frenzy here would be most welcome.

Can Souček be Sevilla's Kryptonite again?

Highlights: West Ham 3-0 Genk
Highlights: West Ham 3-0 Genk

Everyone knows Sevilla and the Europa League are a match made in happen. The Spanish side have won the competition on four of the last five occasions they have entered and are seemingly invincible in the knockout stages, listing Liverpool, Manchester United, Inter, Roma, Porto and Benfica among their victims. The only side to eliminate them since 2013? None other than Slavia Praha – and in the round of 16 no less.

The Czech outfit famously came from behind to win 6-5 on aggregate after extra time in 2019, their feat spearheaded by Tomáš Souček. The relentless midfielder struck in the second leg of that tie and has continued to be a regular goalscorer since joining West Ham, who have been revelling in the limelight of a rare European campaign. David Moyes' men were imperious in the group stage and will be no respecters of reputation having beaten the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League already this season.

No away goals rule

Following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women's Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee approved in June a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions.

With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs are no longer decided on the number of goals scored away but by two 15-minute periods of extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shoot-out.

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Seville's Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will stage the final
Seville's Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán will stage the finalGetty Images

Key dates

Knockout stage
9/10 & 17 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
7 & 14 April: Quarter-finals
28 April & 5 May: Semi-finals
18 May: Final (Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, Sevilla)

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