Football Football

Liverpool in banana skin Europa group

Shares
Liverpool's Christian Benteke right, celebrates with team-mate Dejan Lovren after he scores the first goal for his side during their English Premier League soccer match against Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Monday Aug. 17, 2015. PHOTO/AP

Liverpool’s Christian Benteke right, celebrates with team-mate Dejan Lovren after he scores the first goal for his side during their English Premier League soccer match against Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Monday Aug. 17, 2015. PHOTO/AP

MONACO, August 28- Five-time European champions Liverpool face a stern test of their continental experience after drawing former French champions Bordeaux and Russia’s Rubin Kazan in the Europa League group stages on Friday.

Brendan Rodgers’ Premier League giants will also take on Sion of Switzerland after 12 groups of four teams were pulled out of the hat at the draw in Monaco.

Liverpool, who won the UEFA Cup, the former version of the Europa League, three times in 1973, 1976 and 2001 will face Bordeaux for only the second time after defeating the Ligue 1 side home and away in the 2006-07 Champions League group stages.

Bordeaux came closest to European glory in 1996 when they lost the UEFA Cup final 5-1 on aggregate against a star-studded Bayern Munich side coached by Franz Beckenbauer, while Rubin Kazan reached the Europa League quarter-finals in 2013 when they were beaten by eventual winners Chelsea.

In the other groups, north Londoners Tottenham, who lifted the trophy in 1984, were drawn with last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists Monaco, experienced Belgian side Anderlecht and Qarabag of Azerbaijan.

“Tottenham and Anderlecht are top teams and then we will also discover Qarabag,” said Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.

“It’s a group worthy of the Champions League. It’s a good answer to all of those who claim the Europa League is inferior.

“Our goal is to make it through the group which won’t be easy. I’ve already said we are going to go flat out in the Europa League even if it won’t be easy, but it’s a wonderful competition and we are proud to be playing in Europe for the second straight season.” added Vasilyev.

Holders Sevilla qualified for the Champions League after lifting the trophy for a record fourth time last season and were absent from the draw.

Scotland’s Celtic, who fell at the final Champions League qualifying hurdle, find themselves in a tough Group A that includes Dutch giants Ajax, Turkey’s big-spending Fenerbahce and Norwegian champions Molde.

Borussia Dortmund, who set an attendance record for a Europa League play-off match on Thursday when 64,200 fans saw them thrash Norway’s Odds BK 7-2, for an 11-5 aggregate victory, will take on PAOK of Greece, Russia’s Krasnodar and Qabala of Azerbaijan.

Finally, last season’s finalists FC Dnipro of Ukraine are in a tough foursome featuring Italian club Lazio, France’s Saint-Etienne and Norwegian side Rosenborg.

Shares

Comments