Europa League Seeded Teams
These are the teams that won their Europa League group.
- Borussia Mönchengladbach (Group A)
- Club Brugge (Group B)
- Besiktas (Group C)
- Red Bull Salzburg (Group D)
- Dynamo Moscow (Group E)
- Inter Milan (Group F)
- Feyenoord (Group G)
- Everton (Group H)
- Napoli (Group I)
- Dynamo Kyiv (Group J)
- Fiorentina (Group K)
- Legia Warsaw (Group L)
The four Champions League teams who finished third in their groups and had the highest number of points are also seeded (goal difference was the tiebreaker): these teams are
- Sporting CP
- Athletic Bilbao
- Zenit St. Petersburg
Europa League unseeded teams
These are the remaining teams in the field. They finished either second in their Europa group, or were the four teams in the Champions League who finished third in their group but with the lowest points total
- Tottenham Hotspur
- PSV Eindhoven
- Young Boys
- En Avant Guingamp
The draw will take place on Monday, December 15 at 1:00 p.m. CET (7:00 a.m. ET) at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Seeded teams go into one pot, unseeded teams go into another pot.
Clubs cannot be drawn against another team from their domestic league, or a team they have already played in the group stage. These are, of course, two-legged ties, and the away-goals rule is in effect.
In the round of 32, the seeded team has the advantage of having the second leg at home; thus, El Madrigal will host the first leg. In subsequent rounds, there are no restrictions and order of the legs is by blind draw.
Dream scenario-- Probably the weakest seeded teams are Club Brugge, Legia Warsaw and Feyenoord, though the first two are leading their domestic leagues at the moment. We beat the Belgians in the 2010-11 EL group stage, I'd like to think we could do it again.
It also might be interesting to play Sporting Lisbon (Sporting CP). The travel and weather wouldn't be bad, and I'm not that impressed with them, or the Portuguese league, this season. But they do have a storied history and lots of cup-tie experience, yadda yadda.
Nightmare scenarios --
(1) Zenit St Petersburg. Andre Villas-Boas and Hulk--I think we had enough of them in our last Europa adventure. Plus, the away leg would be very intimidating, the weather could be bad, and I would advise Villarreal fans not to travel there (remember the last time these teams met, some Russian "fans" created a lot of damage to El Madrigal).
(2) Dynamo Moscow. Sort of the same in terms of travel and intimidating atmosphere, probably worse weather, and though Mathieu Valbuena isn't quite as intimidating as Hulk, he's awfully good.
(3) Dynamo Kyiv. Playing in Ukraine is a bit unsettling these days. And the weather will be awful.
Bringing Back the Memories scenarios (some good, some bad)--
(1) Fiorentina. Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Matigol, and Giuseppe Rossi (if healthy). Fiore is actually struggling a bit and Serie A is definitely having a down year, but still. I don't want to have to play those guys right now.
(2) Inter Milan. We defeated them in the CL quarters in 2006. But that seems a long time ago, and they aren't impressing anyone these days. So I'd be OK with that draw.
(3) Everton. We defeated the Toffees in a famously controversial 2005 CL playoff round. Roberto Martinez is a very good coach, but Everton haven't done much so far this year either. I'd be OK with this one.
(4) Napoli. We defeated them in a knockout round in the 2010-11 EL, they defeated us in our abysmal CL campaign the following year. We could see Jonathan de Guzman again.....but we could see Callejon, Higuain....no thanks.
(5) Olympiakos. I put them here because of David Fuster, mainly--he's now 32 (!) but still playing for them. I'm ambivalent on this one; they came third in a very good CL group.
Regardless of who we draw, our opposition won't be too pleased, as Villarreal, along with Sevilla, Spurs, Liverpool and Roma, are probably one of the teams a seeded club hopes to avoid.
What are your nightmare scenarios? Do you have a team you'd really like to see us play for personal reasons?