Europa League 2013-14 Draw: Rounds of 32 and 16 Fixtures Announced

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2013

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 09:  The UEFA Europa League trophy is displayed prior to the UEFA Europa League 2013/14 Season Play-Off draw rehearsal at the UEFA headquarters on August 9, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Following the announcement of the 2013/14 Champions League round of 16 fixtures, Monday afternoon brought the turn of the Europa League to take centre stage.

In total, there are 32 clubs still in the running for the prize currently held by Chelsea, but that number will be quickly whittled down to just eight with the next two rounds of fixtures now decided.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Roberto Soldado of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Anji Makhachkala at White Hart Lane on December 12, 2013 in London, En
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

While it may be looked upon as the smaller cousin when compared to the Champions League, the Europa League shows its real worth in these phases of the tournament, with some thrilling encounters now scheduled.

The official Europa League account confirms the fixtures:

Europa League Round of 32 Fixtures
Home Team (1st leg)vs.Away Team (1st leg)
FC Dniprovs.Tottenham
Real Betisvs.Rubin Kazan
Swansea Cityvs.Napoli
Viktoria Plzenvs.Shakhtar Donetsk
Laziovs.Ludogorets Razgrad
Ajaxvs.Red Bull Salzburg
Maccabi Tel-Avivvs.Basel
Portovs.Eintracht Frankfurt
Anzhi Makhachkalavs.Racing Genk
Dynamo Kievvs.Valencia
Slovan Liberecvs.AZ Alkmaar

The round of 32 meetings will see their first-leg encounters played out Feb. 20 before the return match takes place a week later, Feb. 27.

Similarly, there will be a week separating the home and the away legs of the round of 16 collisions, played out March 13/20.

It's a real continental collage of European giants left in this season's Europa League competitions, with no fewer than 19 countries represented in the latter stages, 14 of which were in the top-seeded 16.

Having failed to advance through the Champions League group round, Napoli, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel all came into the top-seeded half of the Europa League and face Swansea City, PAOK, Viktoria Plzen and Maccabi Tel-Aviv, respectively.

Not quite as lucky as their ex-Champions League alumni, Ajax, Juventus and Porto weren't as fortunate in terms of placement and have drawn some exciting matchups against Red Bull Salzburg, Trabzonspor and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Tottenham and Swansea are the two teams left flying the flag of the Premier League in this year's tournament. Spurs, who sacked Andre Villas-Boas earlier on Monday per BBC Sport, are currently in disarray following their 5-0 implosion Sunday against Liverpool.  

Europa League Round of 16 Fixtures
Home Team (1st leg)vs.Away Team (1st leg)
Slovan Liberec/AZ Alkmaarvs.Anzhi/Racing Genk
Lazio/Ludogorets Razgradvs.Dynamo Kiev/Valencia
Porto/Eintracht Frankfurtvs.Swansea City vs. Napoli
Chornomorets/Lyonvs.Viktoria Plzen/Shakhtar Donetsk
Maribor/Sevillavs.Real Betis/Rubin Kazan
Maccabi Tel-Aviv/Baselvs.Ajax/Red Bull Salzburg

The Portuguese boss had led his team through a flawless group campaign, but Spurs will now face Dnipro with a new man in charge and old boss Juande Ramos returning with his Ukrainian upstarts. Michael Laudrup's Swans, meanwhile, have been faced with the task of taking on Arsenal's recent superiors Napoli, unlucky not to have advanced in the Champions League.

Despite not being the most prestigious of Europe's competitions, this season's Europa League has a massive helping of top-quality talent on display, with Juventus ranked as favourites, according to Oddschecker.


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