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Villarreal to face Lyon in Europa League Round of 32

A challenging draw, not the opponent I was hoping for.

Villarreal v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images

Villarreal’s reward for making it through the Europa League group stage at the top of group A is a difficult tie against Olympique Lyonnais, currently second in the French domestic league. OL finished second in their Europa league group to Atalanta—they have a young and powerful strike force including Memphis Depay (ex PSV and Man Utd) and Mariano Diaz, ex-Real Madrid canterano.

The matches will be February 15 in Lyon and February 22 in Vila-real.

For Lyon, those matches are sandwiched around matches against Rennes(H), Lille (A), and St. Etienne (H). Villarreal’s matches are Alavés (H), Espanyol (A), and Getafe (H). No clear-cut advantage to either side there.

The rest of the draw:

Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta

Nice v Lokomotiv Moscow

Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid

Spartak Moscow v Athletic Bilbao

AEK Athens v Dynamo Kyiv

Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg

Napoli v RB Leipzig

Red Star Belgrade v CSKA Moscow

Real Sociedad v Salzburg

Partizan Belgrade v Viktoria Plzen

Steaua Bucharest v Lazio

Ludogorets v Milan

Astana v Sporting

Ostersund v Arsenal

Marseille v Braga

Not much reward for Copenhagen or Ostersund, unfortunately. Or Celtic.

Napoli (2nd in Serie A) vs RB Leipzig (2nd in Bundesliga) has got to be the plum tie of this round, other than ours.