Europa League: New challenges ahead for Chelsea in shadow of Champions League elite

 

Roman Abramovich in the Europa League. Chelsea on ITV4, not even Channel 5. Today the Champions League exit will hit home hardest. At 10.30am the draw for Europe's elite competition will take place in Nyon. Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will find out who awaits them in the knockout stage of Europe's top competition.

At 1pm Chelsea, the reigning champions of Europe, will find out where they will head in the Europa League, other than the harsh reality of the Champions League's shadows.

Rafa Benitez has had some round of fixtures to deal with since he took over from Roberto Di Matteo last month. The Champions League, the Premier League, the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the Club World Cup and the Europa League in the second week in February, will test his patience as much as the supporters still questioning his appointment.

Chelsea are one of eight teams dumped from the Champions League into the Europa League at the final 32 stage.

There are two pots at this stage of the competition. In pot one go the 12 group winners (including Liverpool) and the four best-performing Champions League sides. They will face, away leg first, the remaining 12 runners up from the group stage (Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur) and the other four Champions League sides. At the last-32 stage, no side can play a team that they faced in the Europa League group stage or one from their own country.

For Chelsea they could face Madrid, but it will be Atletico. They could face Milan, but it will be Internazionale. Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg and Ajax are also potential opponents. Liverpool could end up, among others, with either Inter or Napoli, who boast the tournament's top scorer in Edinson Cavani.

Newcastle would probably prefer to avoid any of the fallen Champions League teams – Olympiakos, Benfica or Cluj. Those three are potential opponents for Tottenham as well, but at least the Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, knows that, unlike Alan Pardew, he will not be running the risk of Lazio being drawn against his side today.

Europa League: Draw details

* The draw for the rounds of 32 and 16 take place today, featuring four English clubs. Teams from the same group or country can not be drawn with each other until the last 16.

Seeded teams (12 group winners + four best Champions League drop-outs): Liverpool, Viktoria Plzen, Fenerbahce, Bordeaux, Steaua Bucharest, Dnipro, Genk, Rubin Kazan, Lyons, Lazio, Metalist Kharkiv, Hannover, Chelsea, CFR Cluj, Olympiakos, Benfica.

Unseeded teams (12 group runners-up + four worst drop-outs):

Anzhi Makhachkala, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Newcastle, Stuttgart, Napoli, Basle, Internazionale, Sparta Prague, Tottenham, Bayer Leverkusen, Levante, Zenit St Petersburg, BATE Borisov, Dynamo Kiev, Ajax.

Round of 32: 14 & 21 February; Round of 16: 7 & 14 March.

* Best/worst draws for the Premier League quartet

Chelsea Basle/Atletico Madrid

Liverpool BATE Borisov/Internazionale

Newcastle Genk/Lyons

Tottenham Bordeaux/Dnipro

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee