Former European champions Ajax, Celtic meet in Europa League
Former European champions Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic, who both suffered the indignity of being knocked of the Champions League qualifiers by underdogs this season, will meet in the Europa League after being drawn together in the group stage on Friday.
Monaco: Former European champions Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic, who both suffered the indignity of being knocked of the Champions League qualifiers by underdogs this season, will meet in the Europa League after being drawn together in the group stage on Friday.
Four-times European champions Ajax, beaten by Rapid Vienna in the premier competition, and Celtic, who were ousted by Malmo, were placed in Group A alongside Turkey`s Fenerbahce and Norwegian side Molde.
"It almost feels like a Champions League group," said former Netherlands goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, now an Ajax director, after his side were drawn in arguably the toughest of the 12 groups.
Anderlecht will meet Tottenham Hotspur in a repeat of the 1984 final after they were drawn in Group J alongside Monaco and Qarabag.
The English Premier League side won the UEFA Cup 31 years ago on penalties after both legs against Anderlecht ended 1-1.
Napoli were draw with Club Bruges, Legia Warsaw and Midtjylland in Group D while Borussia Dortmund must face PAOK, Krasnodar and Qabala in Group C.
Liverpool were drawn against Swiss side Sion, who they beat 6-3 at Anfield in 1996, Girondins Bordeaux and Rubin Kazan in Group B.
Ukraine`s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, last season`s runners-up, will face Lazio, St Etienne and Rosenborg in Group G.
"Lazio are a very good side, but their defeat by Leverkusen (in the Champions League playoffs) suggests they do not have enough experience," Dnipro coach Myron Markevych said.
"As we were the finalists last year, we need at least to qualify from our group."
Bundesliga side Augsburg, making their European debut this season, must face Athletic Bilbao, AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade in Group L.
"Every match in the Europa League is a present for us," said Augsburg president Klaus Hofmann. "We will enjoy the games."
Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa faces a quick return to FC Basel, the team he led to the Swiss league title last season, after their were paired in Group I, which also features Lech Poznan and Belenenses.
Basel`s St Jakob Park stadium will host the final.
Portugal`s Sporting face Besiktas, Lokomotiv Moscow and Skenderbeu, the first Albanian side to qualify for the group stage of a European competition, in Group H.