The lengthy draw has taken place, throwing up some interesting fixtures in the process...
Liverpool have been paired against Turkish outfit Trabzonspor, while Juventus will have to overcome Sturm Graz if they are to progress to the group stages of the competition. Meanwhile, Manchester City face Timisoara.
As was the case in the inaugural version of the revamped UEFA Cup last season, 74 teams will have to play off for the right to reach the group stages of the competition, where a further six fixtures will be played in order to determine the sides who progress through to the knockout stages in 2011.
Some big names were lying in wait, the most notable of which were arguably Italian giants Juventus and five-time European Cup winners Liverpool. But big-spending Manchester City were also involved, hoping to make a mark on the continental game for the first time as they continue to blaze a trail towards the pinnacle of the club game. And into the mix, too, came high calibre outfits from around Europe, including Porto, CSKA Moscow and PSV Eindhoven, forming a draw containing a great deal of quality.
|First leg at home
||First leg away
|Sibir Novosibirsk||PSV Eindhoven|
|Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk||Lech Poznan|
|Bayer Leverkusen||Tavriya Simferopol|
|Club Brugge||Dinamo Minsk|
|Rapid Vienna||Aston Villa|
|Dundee United||AEK Athens|
|AIK Stockholm||Levski Sofia|
|Hajduk Split||Unirea Urziceni|
|CSKA Sofia||The New Saints|
|Paris Saint-Germain||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|Gyori ETO||Dinamo Zagreb|
The first leg of these encounters is scheduled for August 19, with the reverse fixtures to be played a week later on August 26.
Those 37 teams who are successful will progress to a group stage, in which 10 drop-outs from the Champions League qualifiers will also compete in. Atletico Madrid are already through as defending champions.
England: Liverpool will have a home game against Trabzonspor to kick off their challenge, and they will aim to produce a strong first leg to make an awkward return match in Turkey a good deal more comfortable. When Rapid Wien were drawn with Aston Villa, it was greeted with a rueful shake of their official’s head, indicating the size of the task ahead for the Austrian side. Manchester City were the last side out of the hat, playing Timisoara of Romania.
Italy: Palermo were the first Italian team out of the hat, paired with Maribor of Slovenia, with the first leg of the encounter to be played in Sicily. Napoli will also be at home in their opening encounter, and they face Swedish opposition in the form of Elfsborg. Juventus will play the second leg of their encounter against Sturm Graz in Turin, with their opening fixture a relatively short hop over the Alps to Austria.
Spain: Getafe mark their return to the European arena with a home tie against APOEL of Cyprus. Villarreal came into the competition via the backdoor due to Mallorca’s omission, and will make a long cross-Europe journey to face Dnepr of Belarus.
Germany: Bayer Leverkusen will kick off their Europa League campaign with a home fixture against Tavriya Simferopol of the Ukraine. Borussia Dortmund will also start on German soil, paired against Qarabag of Azerbaijan, and Stuttgart meet Slovan Bratislava.
France: Paris Saint-Germain have been handed a fixture against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, with the first leg to be played in the French capital. Valsui of Romania will play host to Lille in the opening match of their play-off encounter.
Netherlands: Feyenoord face something of a local derby as they have been drawn against Gent of Belgium. Utrecht have been handed a tough draw against European veterans Celtic, who hail from Scotland. AZ, who were made to sweat as they ousted Elfsborg on Thursday evening, were paired with Aktobe. PSV Einhoven will play Sibir.
Portugal: Porto have been paired with Genk, and the Portuguese will have to travel to Belgium for the first leg, though the Dragoes will start as hot favourites to progress. Brondby will meet Sporting CP, with the first leg in Portugal, while Maritimo face a long journey to meet Belorussians BATE in their first leg.
Other: Former UEFA Cup winners CSKA Moscow have been drawn against Anorthosis of Cyprus. Turkish giants Galatasaray will meet Karpaty Lviv of the Ukraine, having made hard work of their qualifying encounter against OFK, while Besiktas play HJK Helsinki. Lokomotiv Moscow will meet Lausanne. Interestingly, there is a Greece – Turkey clash as PAOK meet Fenerbahce, who were surprisingly dumped out of the Champions League.