Cyprus Mail

Holders Sevilla face tough Europa task against Moenchengladbach

Holders Sevilla and Borussia Moenchengladbach, who have won the Europa League and its predecessor the UEFA Cup five times between them, will meet for the first time following the draw for the last 32 on Monday.

Sevilla, who beat Benfica on penalties to win the competition last season, also won the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007 while Borussia were UEFA Cup winners in 1975 and 1979.

“The fact that we were second in our group meant there were no soft touches for us in the draw,” Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo said on the club’s website (

“We have been paired with a tough team, very competitive … with good players both individually and collectively and with a stadium that is usually full,” he added. “It’s the kind of tie you’d expect later in the competition.”

The stand-out tie is Celtic’s meeting with Inter Milan, a repeat of the famous 1967 European Cup final which Celtic won 2-1 in Lisbon to become the first British team to be crowned European champions.

Celtic and Inter, who won the last of their three European Cups in 2010, are among six former European champions in the last 32 including five-time champions Liverpool, one of eight teams who have dropped down into the Europa League from the Champions League.

Liverpool will face Besiktas and will be the third English club Besiktas will have faced this season after meeting Arsenal in the Champions League playoffs and Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League group stage.

Liverpool crushed Besiktas 8-0 the last time they met at Anfield in the group stages of the Champions League in 2007.

Besiktas striker Demba Ba, who played in England for West Ham United, Newcastle United and Chelsea, told UEFA: “It’s a difficult pairing.

“Liverpool are having some hard times now. If we can snatch a good result in the first leg, it will be an advantage to be playing the second leg at home.”

Tottenham, winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984, are drawn to play Fiorentina who they have never played before in a competitive fixture.

Legia Warsaw, Poland’s only representatives especially keen to reach the final in Warsaw on May 27, have a tough task against former European champions Ajax Amsterdam who have dropped down from the Champions League.

There is an added incentive for all 32 in this season’s competition with the winners gaining a place in the Champions League next season for the first time.

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