Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor hopeful after Europa League draws
Trabzonspor advanced to the group stage after a goalless draw at Rostov, a week after beating the Russians 2-0 in the first leg.Beşiktaş will have another trip to London along with a double journey to the Balkans, while Trabzonspor is named in a relatively comfortable group as the Europa League group stage draws were made Aug. 29.
Europe’s second-tier competition, which comprises of 48 teams in 12 groups, has been given added luster this season with the winners qualifying for at least the Champions League playoffs next term.
The Black Eagles will face former UEFA Cup winner Tottenham Hotspur in their Europa League Group C.
Beşiktaş was demoted to the second-tier European club competition after losing to the Spurs’ local rivals, Arsenal, in the Champions League playoffs.
Beşiktaş’s opponents include Partizan Belgrade and Greek team Asteras, meaning the Black Eagles will make two relatively shorter trips.
Trabzonspor’s Group L includes Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv, Poland’s Legia Warsaw and Lokeren of Belgium. Trabzonspor advanced to the group stage after a goalless draw at Rostov, a week after beating the Russians 2-0 in the first leg.
Another Turkish team, Kardemir Karabükspor, however, failed to qualify past the playoff stage, where it lost to Saint-Etienne after a nervy penalty shoot-out.
Sevilla will face former winners Feyenoord plus Standard Liege of Belgium and HNK Rijeka of Croatia when it begins the defense of its Europa League trophy.
The other title favorites include former European champions PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, former UEFA Cup winners Tottenham and Napoli and former European Cup Winners’ Cup holders Everton.
Inter will face Dnipro, Saint-Etienne and Qarabag in the Group F, while Everton is pitted against Lille, Wolfsburg and Krasnodar in a tough Group H.
Group I includes Napoli, Sparta Prague, Young Boys and Slovan Bratislava, while Fiorentina, PAOK, Guingamp and Dinamo Minsk are in the Group K. PSV will face Panathinaikos, Estoril and Dynamo Moscow in the Group E.
The group stage begins on Sept. 18 with the final in Warsaw on May 27.