KEIR RADNEDGE in MONTE CARLO: Holders Atletico Madrid face a trip eastwards to Israel to play Hapoel Tel-Aviv – among others – in the first, group, step of their defence of the trophy they won by defeating fellow Spanish club Athletic Bilbao last season.
First, however, prolific top scorer Radamel Falcao & Co have a chance of another European trophy when they take on Champions League winners Chelsea for the UEFA Supercup in the Stade Louis II here in Monaco tonight.
The final of the Europa League next spring will be staged in the Amsterdam Arena, the first European final there since Real Madrid beat Juventus in the Champions League showdown in 1998.
Next year’s date – May 15 – is also 50 years to the day since Tottenham became the first British club to win a European trophy in defeating Atletico de Madrid 5-1 in the final of the Cup-winners Cup in Rotterdam in 1963.
Spurs are back in the competition after being ‘relegated’ out of a Champions League qualifying spot by Chelsea’s victory over Bayern in Munich in the final of the senior competition last May. They have been presented with a testing group which features Panathinaikos, Italy’s Lazio and Maribor of Slovenia.
The draw . . .
Group A: Liverpool, Udinese, Young Boys Bern, Anzhi.
Group B: Atletico de Madrid (holders), Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Viktoria Plzen, Academica Coimbra.
Group C: Marseille, Fenerbahce, Borussia Monchengladbach, AEL Limassol.
Group D: Bordeaux, Brugge, Newcastle United, Maritimo.
Group E: Stuttgart, FC Kobenhavn, Steaua Bucharest, Molde.
Group F: PSV Eindhoven, Napoli, Dnipro, AIK Solna.
Group G: Sporting Clube, Basel, Genk, Videoton.
Group H: Internazionale, Rubin Kazan, Partizan, Neftchi Baku.
Group I: Lyon, Bilbao, Sparta, Hapoel KS.
Group J: Tottenham, Panathinaikos, Lazio, Maribor.
Group K: Bayer Leverkusen, Metallist Kharkiv, Rosenborg, Rapid Vienna.
Group L: Twente Enschede, Hannover, Levante, Helsingborgs.
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