Winners and Losers in the Europa League Draw

Alex Richards@@AA_RichardsContributor IDecember 16, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 15:  Carlos Tevez (C) of Juventus celebrates his second with team mates during the Serie A match between Juventus and US Sassuolo Calcio at Juventus Arena on December 15, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Following the main event of the Champions League draw, the Europa League rounds of 32 and 16 were also drawn.

And while the ties unquestionably lack the lustre of the counterparts that can be found in the tournament's bigger brother, there were some interesting scenarios thrown out.

Here's a look at some of the winners and losers from the draw:

Winners: Juventus

The Bianconeri have dropped out of the Champions League following their defeat to Galatasaray last week, and now Antonio Conte's side can refocus their efforts on the Europa Leaguethe final of which will take place in Turin at the Juventus Stadium.

And following the draw, Juventus will be heavily fancied to make the final eight.

Conte's men have been paired in the round of 32 with Turkish side Trabzonspor, who currently sit seventh in the Super Liga. Mustafa Akcay's side are unbeaten in this season's Europa League, but Juve represent a major step up in class.

And if the Italian champions do indeed get past Trabzonspor, then they'll likely favour themselves to beat either Esbjerg or (more likely) Fiorentina in the last 16.

The Viola have already beaten Juve once this term4-2 in Florencebut Juve led 2-0 that day before throwing away a game where they were comfortable.

In what would be a mouthwatering tie, don't expect them to make the same mistake.

Losers: Swansea City

Michael Laudrup's side have enjoyed their Europa League experience so far and have done rather well to make the knockout stages.

But now the Welsh club have quite simply been overmatched in the round of 32, being paired with Rafa Benitez's Napoli.

In recent years, the Neapolitans haven't taken the Europa League too seriously and were rather dismal during the 2012-13 campaign when they were knocked out by Viktoria Plzen in the first knockout stage 5-0 on aggregate.

However, Benitez himself has form in the competition, having led Chelsea to success last term, while he also won the UEFA Cup during his time as manager of Valencia.

And with the final on Italian soil, it represents a major chance for Napoli to lift European silverware for the first time since Diego Maradona's side beat Stuttgart in 1989.

Which is all rather unfortunate for Swansea.

Winner: Juande Ramos

On the day that Tottenham Hotspur decided to sack Andre Villas-Boas, it was somewhat ironic that they would be handed a tricky tie against Ukrainian club Dnipro and former manager Juande Ramos.

DNIPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 20:  Juande Ramos, coach of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk looks on during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and PSV Eindhoven on September 20, 2012 at the Dnipro Arena in Dnipropetrovs
EuroFootball/Getty Images

The Spaniard, who twice led Sevilla to UEFA Cup success, is the last Spurs boss to lead the Lilywhites to glory, having taken them to the 2008 League Cup.

He was ditched by Spurs just six months later after a nightmare start to the 2008-09 campaign, which saw them take just two points from their opening eight Premier League games.

Since moving to Ukraine in 2010, however, Ramos has put together a more than decent side in Dnipropetrovsk, finishing fourth in the Ukrainian league last term and winning six of their eight European matches this season (losing twice to Fiorentina).

The star man is obviously winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, but strikers Yevhen Seleznyov and Roman Zozulya are both good players also, as is the Brazilian schemer Giuliano.

However, the tie is all about Ramos and his return to his former stomping ground, and he'll no doubt be gunning for some kind of revenge.

Losers: Viktoria Plzen

Viktoria Plzen supporters were overjoyed at the prospect of a deep Europa League run when they bore CSKA Moscow in their "winner takes third" match at the end of the Champions League group stage.

Unfortunately, the Czech side must now go toe-to-toe with Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar Donetsk, who will no doubt have half an eye on the trophy itself.

Perhaps the Miners aren't as formidable as they were 12 months ago, prior to the departures of key men like Willian and Fernandinho. However, they remain the best side in Eastern Europe at present (despite their drop into the Europa League), and three months down the line, a number of summer signings will have been further integrated into the side.

Facundo Ferreyra, the Argentine striker signed from Velez Sarsfield, has six goals in nine league games as he adapts to a new culture, while big-money Brazilian prospects Bernard and Wellington Nem will have further game time under their belts.

As such, when February comes around, Shakhtar could be looking extremely strong, and with Chornomorets Odesa or Lyon waiting in the next round, they'll fancy their chances of a place in the last eight.

All of which makes for rather unfortunate reading for the Czech side.

Winners: Basel

Basel have dropped down into the competition where they reached the semi-final stage last season (only to be beaten by eventual winners Chelsea), and Murat Yakin will be hoping his impressive young side can go one better this term.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18:  FC Basel players celebrate in front of their fans at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between Chelsea and FC Basel at Stamford Bridge on September 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian
Ian Walton/Getty Images

They perhaps have a case in saying that the officiating in their final Champions League match against Schalke was far from clever, but hopefully the Swiss champions take Europe's secondary competition as seriously again, because they are a very attractive young side to watch.

Marco Streller is the experienced focal point who leads the attack, but in Fabian Schaer, they have at their disposal one of Europe's most promising defenders. The midfield trio of Fabian Frei, Valentin Stocker and Chile's Marcelo Diaz are all wonderful technicians, while winger Mohamed Salah offers blistering pace and trickery from either flank.

The first knockout round has been kind, pairing them with Maccabi Tel Aviv, who they should be too strong for.

The round of 16 (should they progress) would see them paired with either Salzburg or Ajax, both of whom would make for entertaining matches but neither of whom would give them reason to fear.

Twitter: @AA_Richards


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