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.