Europa League draw: mixed fortunes for LaLiga clubs
Villarreal enjoyed the best luck of the three Spanish sides in Friday's group-stage draw, with trickier sections for Athletic Club and Celta Vigo.
- Grupo A M. UNITED FENERBAHÇE FEYENOORD ZORYA
- Grupo B OLYMPIAKOS APOEL YOUNG BOYS ASTANA
- Grupo C ANDERLECHT S. ETIENNE MAINZ QABALA
- Grupo D ZENIT AZ ALKMAAR MACCABI DUNDALK
- Grupo E VIKTORIA PLZEN ROMA AUSTRIA VIENA ASTRA
- Grupo F ATHLETIC GENK RAPID VIENA SASSUOLO
- Grupo G AJAX STANDARD DE LIEJA CELTA PANATHINAIKOS
- Grupo H SHAKHTAR BRAGA GENT KONYASPOR
- Grupo I SCHALKE SALZBURGO KRASNODAR NIZA
- Grupo J FIORENTINA PAOK LIBEREC QARABAG
- Grupo K INTER DE MILÁN SPARTA PRAGA SOUTHAMPTON HAPOEL BEER-SHEVA
- Grupo L VILLARREAL STEAUA BUCAREST ZURICH OSMANLISPOR
There were mixed fortunes for LaLiga's representatives in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group-stage draw, which took place in Monaco on Friday lunchtime.
Tricky for Athletic and Celta, Villarreal more fortunate
Athletic Club and Celta Vigo were both handed dangerous-looking groups, while Villarreal - who took their place in the hat after defeat to Monaco in the Champions League play-off round - enjoyed better luck than their fellow Spaniards.
Athletic have been drawn in Group F alongside Genk, Rapid Vienna and Sassuolo, while Celta (back in European football after a ten-year absence) have been paired with Ajax, Standard Liege and Panathinaikos in Group G.
Villarreal, semi-finalists last year and top seeds alongside Athletic, appear to have a more straightforward task in Group L, with Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich and Osmanlispor their opponents.
#CVFEnglish | Fran Escribá: "It will be key to win the three matches at home to finish first in our group which is our goal"— Villarreal CF (@VillarrealCF) 26 August 2016
Top two to go through
The stage gets underway on 15 September, before concluding on 8 December. The top two in each section will qualify for the round of 32, and will be joined by the eight third-placed sides from the Champions League group phase.
This season's Europa League final will be held at the Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden, on 24 May 2017.
Full group-stage draw:
Group A: Manchester United, Fenerbahce, Feyenoord, Zorya Luhansk
Group B: Olympiacos, Apoel Nicosia, Young Boys, Astana
Group C: Anderlecht, St Etienne, Mainz, Qabala
Group D: Zenit St Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Dundalk
Group E: Plzen, Roma, Austria Vienna, FC Astra Giurgiu
Group F: Athletic Club, Genk, Rapid Vienna, Sassuolo
Group G: Ajax, Standard Liege, Celta Vigo, Panathinaikos
Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Gent, Konyaspor
Group I: Schalke 04, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Krasnodar, Nice
Group J: Fiorentina, PAOK Salonika, Liberec, Qarabag
Group K: Inter Milan, Sparta Prague, Southampton, Hapoel Beer Sheva
Group L: Villarreal, Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich, Osmanlispor
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