Monday afternoon saw the draw for the Europa League Play-Offs take place at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.
All of the teams that had dropped out of the Champions League are paired with the runners up in the Europa League group stages and, there was one standout tie from the eight that were drawn.
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Barcelona v Napoli is a fixture that has recently been played in the premier European competition, but now finds itself a home in the secondary competition.
Both sides will surely be expected to give it their all with the Catalans not contemplating being knocked out of another European competition at the earliest possible stage.
Give that fixtures don’t take place until mid-february, there’s every chance for Xavi Hernandez to find some form from his players, and have them stand toe to toe with the Italian giants in what is, in some respects, a Diego Maradona ‘tribute,’ given that he served both clubs across his storied career.
Europa League specialists, Sevilla, have a reasonably tough tie against Dinamo Zagreb, as do the other La Liga clubs.
Real Sociedad have been paired with RB Leipzig and Real Betis have to travel to Zenit for their first leg.
Full Draw as follows:
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb
Atalanta v Olympiacos
RB Leipzig v Real Sociedad
Barcelona v Napoli
Zenit v Real Betis
Borussia Dortmund v Rangers
Sheriff v Braga
Porto v Lazio
All first leg ties are to be played on February 17, with the second legs to take place on February 24.
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