The draw for the Round of 32 of the Europa League will be held on Monday at UEFA HQ in Switzerland. The 32 teams are divided into 16 seeded teams—the 12 winners of their groups in the EL winners plus the four highest third-placed teams that placed third in their Champions League group. The Round of 32 matches will be played February 16 and 23, 2017.
The unseeded teams are the 12 teams that came second in their Europa League groups—including Villarreal—and the other four third-placed teams from the CL.
The seeded teams are: Fenerbahce, APOEL Nicosia, Saint Etienne, Zenit St. Petersburg, Roma, Ajax, Shaktar Donetsk, Schalke 04, Sparta Prague, Osmanlispor and either Athletic Bilbao or Genk (all group winners) and, from the CL, Copenhagen, Lyon, Tottenham, or Besiktas.
Villarreal could be drawn against any of these except Osmanlispor (same EL group) and Athletic Bilbao (same association).
Only four of these clubs are familiar to us: we played Zenit and Fiorentina in the 2007-08 EL, Roma in the 2003-04 EL, and Sparta Prague in last year’s Europa League competition.
Worth noting that although we can’t face them in this round, Belgian side Gent, led by Jeremy Perbet, made it to the round of 32 as well, courtesy of a late, late goal against Turkish side Konyaspor that sent the Gentois through at the expense of Braga.
We’ll be anxious to see who we face this time. Who do you think we’ll draw? I know Sid will hope we face St. Etienne, I would not mind playing Fiorentina. I’d prefer to stay away from the colder climates in late February, if we can.