Turkish test for Reds, Villa deja vu
Liverpool will meet Trabzonspor in the Europa League play-off
round, Celtic face Utrecht while Aston Villa take on familiar
Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool side will meet the club based in the
city of Trabzon, who have won the Turkish league six times, on
August 19 and 26.
The play-off is the final hurdle before qualifying for the group
stage, with Friday’s draw involving 74 clubs.
Villa face Rapid Vienna – Austria’s most successful club with 32
The rivals met in the same round last season with Villa crashing
out of the competition on away goals.
Big-spending Manchester City travel to Romania for the first leg
of their play-off after being paired with Timisoara.
The Romanian minnows, established since 2002, finished fifth in
their domestic league last season.
Celtic will take on Dutch side Utrecht. The Hoops’ dropped down
to European club football’s second tier competition after being
knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Braga on
Wednesday night on a 4-2 aggregate.
Neil Lennon’s side, who were seeded for the draw in Nyon, will
play the first game at home before travelling to Holland a week
Motherwell will fancy their chances of making the group stages
for the first time after being drawn to play Odense, with the first
leg in Denmark.
Craig Brown’s men have come through two qualifying rounds
against Icelandic side Breidablik and Aalesund.
The Norwegian side were beaten 3-0 at Fir Park on Wednesday as
the home side cruised through to the play-offs with a a 4-1
Motherwell chairman John Boyle played down his side’s chances of
getting past Odense, saying: “We are happy just to be in the draw
and we will hopefully do our best.
“They will be a formidable side, they all are at this level and
you could say we are the minnows.
“It is a decent distance in terms of travel and overall we are
pleased but it is still a huge challenge for us.”
Dundee United will make their first appearance in the Europa
League this season when they take on AEK Athens.
The Scottish Cup holders were drawn at home in the first leg and
will be looking to take a decent lead to Greece for the return
Welsh outfit TNS also travel for their first leg, heading to
Bulgaria to meet CSKA Sofia.
Italian giants Juventus also have Austrian opposition as they
take on Sturm Graz while Palermo will begin at home to Maribor and
Napoli face Elfsborg.
Villarreal have been drawn against Dnepr-Transmash, although
their participation is still subject to an appeal to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport from Mallorca, who were disqualified under
UEFA’s financial regulations.
Spain’s other representatives at this stage, Getafe, have been
paired with Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia.
Germany have three clubs in the competition at this stage, with
Stuttgart paired with Slovan Bratislava, Bayer Leverkusen facing
Tavriya Symferopol and Borussia Dortmund drawing the short straw as
they face a long trip to take on Azerbaijani side FK Qarabag.
Paris Saint-Germain will face a testing trip to Israel to play
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Lille start away to FC Vaslui, while some of
the Dutch contingent also got a challenging draw.
Feyenoord take on Gent and FC Utrecht face Scottish giants
Celtic, but PSV Eindhoven will feel more confident about their draw
against Sibir while AZ Alkmaar got Aktobe.