EUROPA LEAGUE

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.

Europa League draw: mixed fortunes for LaLiga clubs
ERIC GAILLARD REUTERS

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.

The draw unfolds at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

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.

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