International

Liverpool face tricky group

2015-08-28 14:34
James Milner (Official Liverpool Twitter)

Monaco - Five-time European champions Liverpool face a stern test of their continental experience after drawing former domestic champions Bordeaux of France and Rubin Kazan of Russia when the Europa League group phase draw was made 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 UEFA-hosted 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 Girodins home and away during the group phase of the 2006-07 Champions League.

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 quarter-finals of the Europa League in 2013 when they were beaten by eventual champions Chelsea.

In other groups, north Londoners Tottenham, who won the 1984 edition of the competition were drawn with last season's Champions League quarter-finalists Monaco, experienced Belgian side Anderlecht and Karabakh of Azerbaijan.

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 balanced Group A that includes Dutch side Ajax, Istanbul's Fenerbahce and Norwegian outsiders Molde.

Borussia Dortmund, who set an attendance record for a Europa League play-off match on Thursday when 64,200 fans turned up to see 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.

Europa League groups:

Group A: Ajax (NED), Celtic (SCO), Fenerbahce (TUR), Molde (NOR)

Group B: Rubin Kazan (RUS), Liverpool (ENG), Bordeaux (FRA), Sion (SUI)

Group C: Borussia Dortmund (GER), PAOK (GRE), Krasnodar (RUS), Qabala (AZE)

Group D: Napoli (ITA), Club Brugge (BEL), Legia Warsaw (POL), Midjtylland (DEN)

Group E: Villarreal (ESP), Viktoria Plzen (CZE), Rapid Vienna (AUT), Dinamo Minsk (BLR)

Group F: Marseille (FRA), Sporting Braga (POR), Slovan Liberec (CZE), Groningen (NED)

Group G: Dnipropetrovsk (UKR), Lazio (ITA), Saint-Etienne (FRA), Rosenborg (NOR)

Group H: Sporting Lisbon (POR), Besiktas (TUR), Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS), Skenderbeu (ALB)

Group I: Basel (SUI), Fiorentina (ITA), Lech Poznan (POL), Belenenses (POR)

Group J: Tottenham (ENG), Anderlecht (BEL), Monaco (FRA), Qarabag (AZE)

Group K: Schalke 04 (GER), Apoel Nicosia (CYP), Sparta Prague (CZE), Asteras Tripolis (GRE)

Group L: Athletic Bilbao (ESP), AZ Alkmaar (NED), Augsburg (GER), Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Note: The group phase will be played from September 17 to December 10 with the top two from each group reaching the knock-out rounds where they will be joined by eight teams eliminated from the Champions League.

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