A bit of excitement now building around the prospect of Friday’s Europa League draw. Lots of discussion about who we’d like Fulham to be drawn against in the last 32. Let’s put a bit of flesh on the bones.
First, the seeds.
Four sides have dropped out from the Champions’ League group stages:
Twelve group winners from the Europa League:
Ajax or Anderlecht (to be decided tonight – the odds favour Ajax)
Valencia/Lille/Genoa (up for grabs)
Hamburg/Hapoel Tel Aviv (both could top the group)
Now, the unseeded sides.
First, the other four third-placed sides from the Champions League:
Then, the 12 runners-up from the Europa League:
Hamburg/Hapoel Tel Aviv
FC Twente/FC Sheriff
We can’t be drawn against Liverpool, Everton or Roma. Still, there are some interesting teams in there.
According to the UEFA website, the unseeded sides will be at home first. That means the first leg would be at Craven Cottage on 18 February, with the return a week later. However, there may be a few logistical obstacles to be overcome first. For policing reasons, the two Istanbul teams (Galatasary and Fenerbache), the two sides from Lisbon (Sporting and Benfica) and the clubs from Merseyside (Everton and Liverpool) won’t be allowed to stage home fixtures on the same night.
I wonder who we’ll get.