Cyprus Cup holders Apollon will face Everton, Lyon and Atalanta in the group stages of this season’s Europa League after the draw was made by Uefa on Friday.
The Limassol side progressed on Thursday night after a 1-1 draw in Denmark against FC Midtjylland sealed a 4-3 aggregate victory.
Arsenal face punishing away trips after the draw pitted them against BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, while Everton face a tough group including last season’s semi-finalists Olympique Lyonnais.
Arsene Wenger’s side, who failed to reach the Champions League for the first time since 1997, face a 4,500km round trip to face Belarusian champions BATE and can expect an intimidating atmosphere in their trip to Serbia to face Red Star. They will also meet Bundesliga side FC Cologne in Group H.
Everton, the other Premier League side in the Europa League and who return to the competition after a three-year absence, take on Serie A side Atalanta in Group E, who are back in European football for the first time in 26 years.
Ronald Koeman’s men will also face Apollon and Lyon, who were knocked out of the final four last season by eventual runners up Ajax Amsterdam.
AC Milan are the favourites to win the tournament after spending more than 200 million euros on new signings this season including Lucas Biglia, Andre Silva and Leonardo Bonucci. They will face Austria Vienna, HNK Rijeka and AEK Athens in Group D.
Europa League group stage draw:
Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu
Group C: Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir
Group D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna, NK Rijeka, AEK Athens
Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol
Group F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sheriff Tiraspol, FC Zlin
Group G: Viktoria Plzen, Steaua Bucharest, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, FC Lugano
Group H: Arsenal,BATE Borisov, Cologne, Red Star Belgrade
Group I: Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria Guimaraes, Konyaspor
Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersunds
Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse Arnhem.
Group L: Zenit, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar Skopje