-- A Gift for Olympiacos...Old Foe for PAOK --
Christmas came early for Olympiacos as they were handed a “gift” in today’s UEFA Europa League Round of 32 draw, drawing Turkish club Osmanlispor. PAOK were unlucky in the draw as they were paired with Schalke from Germany.
There was one winner and one loser for the Greek teams in today’s UEFA Europa League Round of 32 draw. Both Olympiacos and PAOK were unseeded after they finished second in their respective groups.
Luck was on Olympiacos’ side as they drew the surprise team of the Europa League Group stages, Osmanlispor from Turkey. The Turkish club finished ahead of Villarreal, Steaua Bucuresti, and Zurich in Group L with 10 points. Although Olympiacos will see Osmanlispor as a favorable opponent, in previous years where the Erythrolefki were handed a “good” draw they have failed to progress to the next round. Recent examples include Anderlecht from last season and Dnipro (who advanced to the competition’s final) the year before.
As for PAOK, they will have a theoretically much more difficult task as they were paired with Schalke. The German side finished first in Group I ahead of Krasnodar, Salzburg, and Nice with 15 out of a possible 18 points. The two teams recently met in a two-legged encounter in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round, where Schalke prevailed 4-3 on aggregate (1-1 in Germany, 2-3 Schalke win in Greece).
The first legs will be played on February 16th and the return legs will be held one week later. Olympiacos and PAOK will play the first leg at home.
Despite finishing first in Group B, APOEL will have to play a very good Athletic Bilbao side, who finished second in Group F behind Genk. The Cypriot Champions will host the Spanish club at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia for the second leg. The encounters that stick out from today’s draw include Villarreal/Roma and Fiorentina/Monchengladbach. Niko Karelis’ Genk will play against Romanian side Astra while Manchester United and Tottenham will be happy with today’s draw as they were paired with Saint Etienne and Gent, respectively
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 32 DRAW RESULTS
- Athletic Bilbao (ESP) - APOEL (CYP)
- Legia Warsaw (POL) - Ajax (NED)
- Anderlecht (BEL) - Zenit (RUS)
- Astra (ROU) - Genk (BEL)
- Manchester United (ENG) - Saint Etienne (FRA)
- Villarreal (ESP) - Roma (ITA)
- Ludogorets (BUL) - FC Kobenhavn (DEN)
- Celta (ESP) - Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
- Olympiacos (GRE) - Osmanlispor (TUR)
- Gent (BEL) - Tottenham (ENG)
- Rostov (RUS) - Sparta Prague (CZE)
- Krasnodor (RUS) - Fenerbahce (TUR)
- Borussia Monchengladbach (GER) - Fiorentina (ITA)
- AZ Alkmaar (NED) - Lyon (FRA)
- Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ISR) - Besiktas (RUS)
- PAOK (GRE) - Schalke (GER)