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

opposition.

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

championships.

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

later.

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

aggregate win.

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

game.

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.