NYON, Switzerland, March 15 – English trio Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all managed to avoid one another as the Europa League quarter-final draw was held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday.
Dethroned Champions League winners Chelsea host Russian club Rubin Kazan in their first leg on April 4 while Tottenham are at home the same night against Swiss outsiders Basel and Newcastle travel to former European champions Benfica.
Tottenham, who won the inaugural competition in 1972 when it was known as the UEFA Cup and added their last European trophy in the same tournament in 1984, will fancy their chances against Swiss champions Basel.
However Spurs manager Andre Villa-Boas will be fully aware of the threat posed by Basel after they ousted 2008 champions Zenit Saint-Petersburg 2-1 to set up an intriguing tie against the North Londoners.
Newcastle head to Lisbon after scoring with the last kick of the match on Thursday to defeat Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala and face a Benfica side who are two points clear of Porto and unbeaten in 22 domestic matches this season.
“It’s a great draw for us,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.
“The Estadio da Luz is a great venue. I’ve been there and it’s a fantastic stadium. Importantly, we are at home in the second leg and that will give us an advantage.” he added.
The venue for the second-leg between Chelsea and Rubin Kazan in Russia has yet to be decided with freezing conditions in Kazan potentially being a factor in moving the tie to Moscow.
There are no Spanish clubs in the quarter finals while defending champions Atletico Madrid who thrashed Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in last year’s final went out in the last-32 this season against Rubin Kazan.
Liverpool were the last English winners of the competition in 2001, when under Gerard Houllier, they defeated Alaves 5-4 in Dortmund although Fulham reached the 2010 final under current England manager Roy Hodgson, only to lose 2-1 against Atletico Madrid.
Middlesbrough were also beaten finalists in 2006 when they were defeated 4-0 by Sevilla before their coach Steve McClaren left the club for a doomed spell as England manager.
The final last-eight tie features 1999 Cup Winners’ Cup champions’ Lazio against Fenerbache with the first leg to be played in Istanbul.
Fenerbache are trying to reach the semi-finals of a European competition for the first time after reaching the last eight on three occasions while Vladimir Petkovic leads a Lazio side currently sixth in Serie A and four points adrift of the final Champions League spot in Italy.
The final is set to be played at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday, May 15.
Matches to be played on April 4 and 11
Chelsea (ENG) v Rubin Kazan (RUS)
Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) v Basel (SUI)
Fenerbahce (TUR) v Lazio (ITA)
Benfica (POR) v Newcastle (ENG)