Two-time winners Sevilla FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC face fascinating tests after the group stage draw was held in Monaco, while Valencia CF will take on a trio of debutants.
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Bidding to win the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League for a third time, Sevilla FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC are among 48 teams to have discovered their group stage opponents after the draw was held in Monaco.
Sevilla lifted the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007 and will take on SC Freiburg, Estoril Praia and FC Slovan Liberec in Group H following the draw conducted by Ciro Ferrara, who will be the ambassador at the UEFA Europa League final in Turin on 14 May 2014, and AS Monaco FC defender Ricardo Carvalho. Both players have lifted the UEFA Cup, Ferrara with SSC Napoli in 1989 and Carvalho with Porto in 2003.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are in Group K alongside FC Anji Makhachkala, FC Sheriff and Tromsø IL, the Norwegian side having been reinstated on Friday morning after Beşiktaş JK's exclusion. Tromsø's participation brings the number of competing nations in this season's group stage to 27, a record high for the competition as a whole. There were 25 nations represented in last season's group stage and a 26th – Belarus – joined when FC BATE Borisov crossed over from the UEFA Champions League for the round of 32.
Sevilla and Tottenham are two of the five former winners of the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League in the field. Valencia CF are in Group A, alongside three group stage debutants: Swansea City AFC, FC Kuban Krasnodar and FC St Gallen. PSV Eindhoven will play GNK Dinamo Zagreb, FC Chornomorets Odesa and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad in Group B, while Group F comprises 1980 UEFA Cup winners Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, APOEL FC – selected in a draw on Friday morning, involving the teams eliminated in the play-offs, to take the place of the excluded Fenerbahçe SK – and Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC.
AZ Alkmaar claimed the last place in the group stage on Friday morning, holding on to defeat Atromitos FC on away goals after the second leg of their play-off tie had been abandoned on Thursday following a stadium evacuation. The Dutch club's reward was a place in Group L alongside PAOK FC, Maccabi Haifa FC and FC Shakhter Karagandy – Kazakhstan's first participants in the group stage.
The 48 entrants were split into four seeding pots based on their club coefficients, with each of the 12 groups containing one team from each tier. No club could meet a side from their own association. The full group stage fixture list will be available shortly.
Group A: Valencia CF (ESP), Swansea City AFC (ENG), FC Kuban Krasnodar (RUS), FC St Gallen (SUI)
Group B: PSV Eindhoven (NED), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), FC Chornomorets Odesa (UKR), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)
Group C: R. Standard de Liège (BEL), FC Salzburg (AUT), IF Elfsborg (SWE), Esbjerg fB (DEN)
Group D: FC Rubin Kazan (RUS), Wigan Athletic FC (ENG), NK Maribor (SVN), SV Zulte Waregem (BEL)
Group E: ACF Fiorentina (ITA), FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR), FC Paços de Ferreira (POR), CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu (ROU)
Group F: FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA), APOEL FC (CYP), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
Group G: FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), KRC Genk (BEL), SK Rapid Wien (AUT), FC Thun (SUI)
Group H: Sevilla FC (ESP), SC Freiburg (GER), Estoril Praia (POR), FC Slovan Liberec (CZE)
Group I: Olympique Lyonnais (FRA), Real Betis Balompié (ESP), Vitória SC (POR), HNK Rijeka (CRO)
Group J: SS Lazio (ITA), Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR), Legia Warszawa (POL), Apollon Limassol FC (CYP)
Group K: Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG), FC Anji Makhachkala (RUS), FC Sheriff (MDA), Tromsø IL (NOR)
Group L: AZ Alkmaar (NED), PAOK FC (GRE), Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR), FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ)