Analysis of all 35 potential Everton Europa League Group opponents

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So the playoffs are over and the draw for the Group Phase draw will soon be with us. In typical Everton fashion we missed out on Pot 2 by the finest of margins, less than 500 coefficient points to be precise, but on the plus side it means were likely to play 2 big sides which is good for fans looking to travel and get tickets for games on the continent. The below table shows the x4 pots for today’s draw which takes place at 12 O’clock UK time and can be watched live on the uefa website. The full group stage fixture list will be available 60 minutes after the draw ceremony. The matches will be held on 18 September, 2 and 23 October, 6 and 27 November and 11 December.

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So in today’s draw we basically have the chance to meet any side from Pot 1,2 or 4, minus Tottenham as nation states can’t play each other at this stage. Here is the lowdown on each potential opponent;

New Picture (100)Aalborg (Denmark) Pot: 4 Odds: 250/1 Pint Price: £1.04 Danish chumps are based in northern Denmark which is a bit more tricky to get to than Copenhagen in the south. You can fly there with Norwegian Airlines from Gatwick with 1 stop in Copenhagen. Danish trains are the most expensive to ride on in the world so if you are going to use them book in advance. On the pitch, Aalborg are the lowest ranked side in the EL Group Phase and were walloped 5-1 on aggregate in the ECL playoffs by the mighty APOEL. Their finest hour in recent times in European competition was in 2009 when they reached the ECL Group Phase, finishing 3rd in their group with just 1 win, against Celtic. They have just 1 win from their opening 5 games in the new Danish league season.

New Picture (99)Apollon Limassol (Cyprus) Pot: 4 Odds: 200/1 Pint Price: £2.50 Limassol’s home is  the 13,000 seater Tsirion Stadium, also known as the Olympia Stadium. They qualified in impressive style for the EL group’s, shlacking  Manuel Fernandes Lokomotiv Moscow 4-1 on their own patch last night. Travel wise, Monarch fly direct from Manchester to Larnaca or you can fly to Pathos and drive the last 100km.  Jet 2 also fly to both destinations from LeedsBradford Airport. In terms of what to do when you get there, Lonely Planet report that there are two sides to the city;

The second-biggest city in the country, Limassol (Lemesos) has several reputations: ‘the city that never sleeps’ is one, and the cliché is thanks to the tourist area’s exuberant nightlife, rivalled only by that of Agia Napa; another is ‘sex town’, with the many ‘cabarets’ (basically brothels) that dot the area around the Rialto Theatre, recently reclaimed from the pimps and rebranded for respectable theatre-goers. Some see Lemesos mainly as an industrial and commercial centre with little to recommend it. But if you like a city that’s rough around the edges, with great places to eat and drink, plus several spots for beach parties and fantastic sights, then pay a visit to Lemesos.’

New Picture (95)Astra Giorgio (Romania) Pot: 4 Odds: 250/1 Pint Price: £1.10  The Romanian’s play at their 7,000 capacity Stadionul Marin Anastasovici. To get to Romania fly from Manchester – Bucharest via Amsterdam with KLM, then its a 1 hour drive from Bucharest.  If you fancy taking in the sights of Europe to Bucharest then a 2 day train trip starts from London to Paris by Eurostar, then go from Paris to Munich overnight by the City Night Line sleeper train Cassiopeia. Then go from Munich to Budapest before the final leg of the journey from Budapest to Bucharest overnight on the EuroNight sleeper train Ister. On the pitch they pulled of the biggest scalp of the playoffs as they knocked out Lyon on away goals after a 2-1 win on French soil.

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Asteras (Greece) Pot: 4 Odds: N/A Pint Price:  £2.90 Greek side who play at the 7,600 capacity Kolokotronis Stadium. Arguably the biggest underdog of the qualifiers having dumped out the capable German side Mainz and European regulars Maccabi Tel Aviv on the way to reaching the Group Phase for the first time in their history.

 

New Picture (96)Besiktas (Turkey)  Pot: 2 Odds: 50/1 Pint Price: £2.49  Slaven Bilic’s Istanbul based side currently play their hone games at the 75,000 capacity Ataturk stadium whilst their own ground is being rebuilt. As they showed against Arsenal in the ECL play-offs they’re very good at the back with their  keeper Zengin recording the most clean sheets in the league last season. However they are less potent in the final third where Demba Ba , who twice turned us down in the past, leads the line.

New PictureBorussia Mönchengladbach (Germany) Pot: 2 Odds: 33/1 Pint Price: £2.25  Their Borussia-park stadium has a 54,000 capacity. Tickets would be hard to come by, Borussia have a hard-core local support and the last time they took part in 12/13 had the 4th top average gate of 44,431 from their 4 games although that’s 10,000 light of their  capacity.To get there, fly to Dusseldorf or Cologne from Manchester (or Easyjet from London Gatwick – Cologne-Bonn) . Then catch a train from Cologne-Bonn to Monchengladbach which is a 1hr 15min journey. Jet 2 also fly to Düsseldorf from Leeds Bradford Airport.Match tickets are as cheap as 10 euro’s a pop and the fanbase located next to the ground is supposedly a great place to have a cheap pre game sup.

New Picture (85) Celtic (Scotland) Pot: 2 Odds: 100/1 Pint Price:£2.75 Celtic are under new management this season with little known Norwegian Ronny Deila taking the reigns of the Glasgow east-enders. Their limp exit 1-6 on aggregate to mid table Legia showed how far they have fallen since beating barca in 2012. After being given a reprieve they then fell to Maribor 1-2 on aggregate.  Top players have left and not been replaced whilst their domestic league has zero competitive edge with the demotion of rangers and relegation of the Edinburgh clubs. Having worked up there I’d say the Jurys Inn is cheap and cheerful n terms of a bed for the night,  plus its right next to the central station you’d arrive into (from liverpool this would be with First Transpennine) and which you can also get to Celtic’s ground from. You can also fly from Manchester to Glasgow for a few quid more.

New Picture (90)Club Brugge (Belgium) Pot: 2 Odds: 66/1 Pint Price: £2.97 Their Jan Breydel stadium has a capacity of 29,473 and is just a short bus ride from the city centre. In their last outing in the competition Brugge only averaged only 16,833 per game, (13,000 less than capacity) so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem. To get to Brugge the Eurostar will take you from London StP via Brussels in 3 and a bit hours. Eurostar are actually about to launch a flash sale  – London-Paris/Bru from £59 rtn if booked 28 Aug to 9 Sep for travel 22 Sep-17 Dec. This hostel is ideal;  its cheap, clean and has a nightclub in the basement. Plus, there is a nice cafe a few doors down which will do you a massive flemish stew and a duvel for a couple of euros.

New Picture (97)Copenhagen (Denmark) Pot: 1 Odds: 100/1 Pint Price: £5.04 Play at the Parken Arena which holds 38,000 fans and is located fairly central to the city. Would be a good side to come up against given the quality of player they currently have, especially as they somehow managed to squirm into Pot 1. In a recent poll ex captain Tobias Linderoth was named as one of their most popular ever players.Direct flights can be booked from Manchester / London Stansted to Copenhagen with Easyjet or go via Malmo and train it across ‘The Bridge’. This hotel is decent and right next to the railway station and city hall where Troels Hartmann worked in the first series of ‘The Killing’.

New Picture (98)Dnipro (Ukraine) Pot: 2 Odds: N/A Pint Price:£0.80p Second top scorers in last season’s Ukraine Championship and only lost the title by 6 points. Brazilian Matheus was their top scorer with 13 goals with lanky Yevhen Seleznyov bagging the same number. The Dnipro Arena holds 31.000 although their average crowd last season for EL games was only just above 50% at 16,456. They have decent stock having qualified for the EL in 2010,2011, 2012 and 2013. They’ve finished 1st and 2nd in the group phase in their last two cracks at the trophy, going out in the first knock out round both times to Basle and Spurs. As far as I know there is no direct flight to Dnipro from the UK, so you’ll need to head to Kiev and change there.

New Picture (102)Dinamo Minsk (Belarus) Pot: 4 Odds:Pint Price: £0.62p  Minsk is a 3 hour flight from Gatwick with Belavia Airways, a round trip usually costing around £300. The Belarus outfit can also be reached via a 2 day train trip from London to Brussels, then onto Cologne and  Warsaw via overnight sleeper train Jan Kiepura. On Day 2 travel overnight by sleeper train from Warsaw to Minsk. Their Traktar Stadium holds a modest 16,500. They are already 21 games into their domestic championship and sit 2nd in the table with just 3 defeats.

New Picture (92)Dynamo Moscow (Russia) Pot: 4 Odds: 66/1 Pint Price: £4 Secured their place by virtue of a fourth placed finish in their domestic league last season. The Khimki Stadium holds 18,636 although their average crowd in the Russian league last season was 7,826 so tickets won’t be hard to come-by. Having recently visited I’d recommend this hotel – if there are 3 of you it works out around £30 per night and its a decent standard, centrally located for the metro, grounds and tourist stuff. For ale, I went to a few of the ones recommended on this site. On the pitch they are a direct outfit who will look to swing in crosses and put opponents under an aerial bombardment. The focus of their approach is one time toffee target Kevin Kuranyi and they also have towering goon Chris Samba in their ranks. Former Man Utd left back Alex Buttner also joined up in the summer but their key player is  Russian International midfielder Alex Kokorin. Currently they sit 2nd in the Russian league with 4 wins from their first 5 games.

New Picture (103)Fiorentina (Italy) Pot: 1 Odds: Pint Price: £3.60– Fourth placed team in Italy and slayers of the toffees a few years ago, with the away leg one of the wettest and most grimmest matches in living memory, not helped by over-zealous policing. Direct flights go from Liverpool Airport to Florence or for a cheaper deal go to Pisa and then train it. Or you can train it from London via the afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris (from £40), then jump on the overnight Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan from just €35 then change in Milan for a high-speed train to Florence.  Further details can be found on the excellent Seat61 website.  Lonely Planet have also done a decent review of the best restaurants on offer. On the field, their attack will be spearheaded by ex Man United goal getter Giuseppe Rossi who weighed in with 16 goals last season and former Bayern monster Mario Gomez. In midfield Borja Valero is the creative hub along with £20m ex-kopite Aquilani who will sit deeper in their midfield engine room. Columbian World Cup trickster Juan Cuadrado also players for these cats.

New Picture (9)HJK (Finland) Pot: 4 Odds:  Pint Price: £4.64 Helsinki based club and are the most successful Finnish  club side in history with 26 Championship titles. Norwegian Airlines fly direct from Gatwick and Finnair likewise fly from Heathrow. They play at the Sonera Stadium which holds a modest 10,300. Ex Birmingham forward Mikael Forsell – who once failed a medical at L4 – is their top scorer with 7 goals in their domestic championship which they lead after 24 games. In terms of pedigree, they qualified for the Group Phase after turfing out Rapid Vienna and this was quite a leap after they were knocked out of both the ECL and EL qualifiers in each of the last 4 seasons.

 

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Map of all Europa League sides 2014/15

New Picture (73)Internazionale (Italy) Pot: 1 Odds: Pint Price: £4.24 Probably the biggest name in Pot 1 is Inter Milan, who elder Blues will recall knocked us out of the European Cup in 1963. The current roster of The Nerazzurri is a far cry from the  treble winning crop of 2010 nor is it close to the all-star Vieri/Ronaldo vintage of the 90’s and 00’s. Indeed,  a glimpse at their best eleven shows how far they have sunk and in their last few excursions into the EL they’ve not exactly shown an appetite to succeed. Argentine World Cup forward Rodrigo Palacio is their key man, weighing in with 17 goals and 7 assists last season. His countryman Ricky (linked with a loan deal to Sunderland) provided the main creative output whilst they have also recruited the likes of  Vidic, M’Vila and Osvaldo in the summer. The Milan behemoths qualified by virtue of a 5th placed finish in Serie A last season. The San Siro holds 80,000 so shouldnt be problematic tickets wise especially as last time round in this competition they averaged crowds of only 18,000. Ryanair fly direct from Manchester and you can also get there from various other UK airports.  Alternatively you can train it from London via the afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris (from £40), then jump on the overnight Thello sleeper train from Paris to Milan from just €35 which includes a couchette.

New Picture (89) Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) Pot: 1 Odds: 66/1  Pint Price: £1.01 Ukrainian cup winners and old school European kingpins. Their home ground is named after their celebrated ex boss – the ‘Valeriy Lobanovskyi’ Dynamo Stadium and holds just 16,800. For the big games they use NSC Olimpiyskiy Ground which holds 70,000. Airfrance fly from Manchester to Kiev with 1 stop off in Paris or go direct with BA from Heathrow.  Hotel Opera is a smart place to stay in Kiev, but not cheap. The Khreschatyk (think adelphi) is right in the thick of things (and has it’s own casino) for those on a tighter budget. Dynamo Kiev have got out of the group phase in 3 of their last 4 EL excursions, with their best performance being in 2011 when they were defeated by Braga in the quarters. Key man Andriy Yarmalenko is their most famous current player with the chief goal threat coming from Dieudonne “Brzi” Mbokani Bezua.

New Picture (99)Krasnodar (Russia) Pot: 4 Odds: Pint Price: £ 1.50 Based to the  northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk which is located in the deep south of Russia and around a 20 hour drive from Moscow. It has an international airport but you’ll struggle to find direct flights from the UK. You can fly to Moscow and then get a domestic flight with one of their easyjet equivalents like Transaero. Total flight time would be around 6 hours excluding the stop off. On the field their ground The Kuban Stadium holds 31,654. This is their second season on the spin in the EL, and last season they turfed out Feyenoord in the playoffs before finishing 3rd in the group with 1 win from 6 games. They are unbeaten in their opening 5 games of the new Russian League Season with Brazilian Joaozinho and Vladimir Bystrov two of their most potent attacking players, so far scoring half of the sides goals between them with Joaozinho also scoring in the impressive 3-0 win that sent out Sociedad in the play off – a warning that on their own turf they are a side to be reckoned with.

New Picture (92)Lille (France) Pot: 1 Odds:  N/A Pint Price: £3.82– Stade Pierre Mauroy holds 50,000 and Lille generally pull in a crowd of between 30-40,000 for home games. It’s very easy to get to with the Eurostar from London only taking a few hours, or you can fly from Manchester to Brussels with Ryanair and train / drive the last 60miles. You could alternatively drive it in about 8 hours from the UK should you wish.Lille had the best defence in ligue 1 last season although were the lowest scorers in top 9. Former Chelsea forward Kalou got 16 of them but is rumoured to be on his way before next week’s closure of the transfer window, whilst £10m libepewl signing Origi got just 6. They have good stock having been Champions in 2011 and having qualified for the ECL then and also in 2012 during the days of Eden Hazard.

New Picture (93)Lokeren (Belgium) Pot: 4 Odds: Pint Price £1.27 Qualified by virtue of winning the Belgian cup , Lokeren play their home games in a stadium with a capacity of just 9,56o which is just a 45 minute drive from Brussels. Finished  5th in last season’s Jupiler League and possess the league’s golden boot winner in Tunisian ‘hitman’ Hamdi Harbaoui, who plundered an impressive 22 league goals last time round. They narrowly lost in the play off to the very competent Plzen last season but had a bit too much for Hull this time round, winning their play off on away goals.

New Picture (93)Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine) Pot: 1 Odds:  25/1 Pint Price: £0.40p  Ukrainian outfit who we visited a few years ago play in front of a 40,000 capacity stadium. In 12/13 metalist averaged 37,857 in the Europa league from their 4 games which was the sixth highest so tickets could be tricky to come by as like last time round.You can either fly direct from London or fly to Kiev / Moscow and train the remainder. Trains are incredibly cheap to ride on – in fact they’re the second cheapest in Europe behind Georgia or bus it – it’s the cheapest in Europe in terms of coach travel. The Kharkiv club qualified from the EL groups in their  last 3 attempts, getting to the quarters once. Perennially the bridesmaids in the Ukraine league, they have never finished outside top 3 in the last 8 seasons but have never took the title – they finished 3rd again last season. They are  weakened by last season’s top scorer Marko Devich defecting to Rubin Kazan in Russia. Have won 2 and lost 2 of their first four games in the Ukraine league.

New Picture (93)Napoli (Italy) Pot: 1 Odds:  20/1 Pint Price: £1.69- Last season I was lucky enough to take in a game at the San Paulo with some pals and it was a great trip. We stayed in a fairly basic hotel near to the train station (Hotel Ideal) which worked out to around 15 quid each per night – cheap and cheerful but not more than that really.  There is no train route from the Airport so bus or taxi is your best option. There is a train that runs from the centre of town to the ground though should you wish to take it. The San Paulo holds 60,000 and in last season’s competition the average gate was just over 40.000 in the EL. Eating and drinking was v cheap if you like pizza. We went to plenty but the best one was definitely Da Michele but you need to get there early, we went on Monday morning at 11am and the queue was right around the block. On the field, Clown Kecks rotund tactician Rafa Benitez outift is spearheaded by Argentine forward Higuain and they also have the likes of Hamsik, Mertens and Michu in their ranks. Fatty is currently feeling the heat after a thrashing in the ECL playoffs by Bilabo.

New Picture (97)Panathinaikos(Greece) Pot: 2 Odds:  50/1 Pint Price:4.35  Athens based club who play their home games in the 16,000 capacity Apostolos Nikolaidas stadium. They had hoped to move to a new 45,000 seater stadium but due to the credit crunch plans were put on  hold.Star man is Swedish star Markus Berg and who was both top scorer and creator in their domestic championship last season.

New Picture (83)PAOK Salonika (Greece) Pot: 2 Odds: 50/1 Pint Price: £3.39 Greek outfit who finished 3rd in their domestic championship last season  who play in a stadium with a capacity of 28,704. In last seasons competition they only pulled in 12,587 per game on average in the EL so nabbing a seat in the home end won’t be difficult. Easyet fly direct from Manchester to Thessaloniki.

New Picture (112)PSV (Holland) Pot: 1 Odds: 40/1  Pint Price: £1.69 Dutch heavyweights who finished 4th in their domestic league last season. Ground capacity is 35,000 however last season they averaged only 15,000 per game in the Europa League, so again getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem. You could fly to Amsterdam and then jump the train from Amsterdam to Eindhoven (trains depart every 30 mins with a journey time of 1hr 20 mins)  or fly from Manchester to Eindhoven with Ryanair. On the field,  PSV reached the 1/4 finals of the EL  in 2011 and the round of 16 in 2012 but just as their league form has withered in the recent years so has their form in the EL, failing to progress from average groups in 2013 and 2014. Dutch International Memphis Depay weighed in with 12 goals and seven assists last season and has 5 already this season – plus he’s just signed a new contract after being linked with Spurs. Luuk de Jong – once touted as the next top Dutch ‘number nine’ during his FC Twente days – has also joined after a disappointing spell at Newcastle United which yielded 0 goals. Currently sit joint top of the Dutch league with maximum points and 12 goals from their opening 3 games.

New Picture (105)Qarabag FK (Azerbaijan) Pot: 4 Odds: N/A  Pint Price: £2.00 Founder members of Azerbaijan Premier League in 1992 and won their first league championship a season later. They play at the 31,000 capacity Tofiq Bahramov Stadium and have qualified for the Europa League 4 times before but this is the first time they’ve made it past the qualifiers. Their win in Twente was one of the most impressive results of the qualifiers and will be something of an unknown quantity to most sides. Their key man is Brazilian forward Reynaldo, who scored 22 times in their domestic league last season.

New Picture (96)Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) Pot: 1 Odds: 50/1  Pint Price: £1.98 Play in the 31,000 capacity Red Bull Arena in Salzburg. Last season they averaged gates of 17,000 in the competition, so it should be ok to get into the home end. Ryanair fly direct from London Stansted fairly regularly. Or you could take a late afternoon Eurostar to Paris, then head to Munich via the City Night Line sleeper train then take a connecting train to Innsbruck or Salzburg next morning.  This is the simplest & most time-effective way to go according to the Seat 61 site. Their star player is former Barca dynamo Jonathan Soriano who has plundered a sackful of goals since arriving a couple of years ago. They’re a decent side, won their league last season and also got a perfect 18 points from last season’s EL group phase, then impressively demolished Ajax in round two before narrowly succumbing to Basle.

New Picture (96)FC Rijeka (Croatia) Pot: 4 Odds:  250/1  Pint Price: £1.60 Croatian side located on the Adriatic coast who play their home games at the Stadion Kantrida, which holds just  10,600. Last season they also qualified for the group phase and averaged 7,340 so tickets could be tricky to come by. Although they finished last in the group they achieved commendable draws against the likes of Betis and Lyon along the way. Their 3-0 win at Moldovian European regulars Sheriff in the playoff was a very good result, and was inspired by Andre Kramaric, the leading scorer in the Croatian league and key man for Rijeka.

New PictureSevilla (Spain) Pot: 1 Odds:  20/1 Pint Price: £1.27– Europa League winners in 2014, their stadium has a sizeable capacity of 40,000 and would be ideal for match day 1. Direct flights go from Manchester or fly to Malaga and you could then do the remaining 100 miles by train or car. I’d recommend this hotel which I stayed at a few years back which is just round the corner from the cathedral. In the close season they lost their key player with Croatian Ivan Rakitic – who slotted 12 goals and 10 assists last season – jumping ship to Barca. They still have dangerous due Gameiro and Carlos Bacca in their attack – the pair bagged 29 goals between them last year.

New Picture (95)Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) Pot: 4 Odds: N/A Pint Price: £0.88p  You can get to Slovakia’s capital from Stansted with Ryanair or you could fly to Vienna and then either take the train to Bratislava (15 euro one way) . Or, for a nicer view, try the fast Twin City Liner river boat, from city centre to city centre along the scenic Danube which costs around 30 euro one way.  The only down side is that their ground only holds a modest 11,591. Last season’s Slovakian Champions  Bratislava won their domestic league at a canter by 12 points. This was mainly due to their bruise brothers strike duo of Robert Vittek and Pavel Fort, both of whom are six footers and who both got into double figures last season. Their best showing in the EL was in 2012 when they finished bottom of the group with just 1 point, so not very good then. They also got taken apart 1-5  in the ECL playoff by BATE.

New Picture (95)Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) Pot: 2 Odds: 150/1 Pint Price: £1.00 Play at the Generali Arena which holds 19.416 and they pulled in 15,037 average crowds in last season’s competition so tickets could be hard to come by. Sparta have a decent pedigree having qualified from the group phase twice in the last 4 seasons, going out on each occasion in the first knockout phase to English opposition.  Prague is pretty easy to get to with Jet2 and Easyjet both flying there from Manchester, or you can train it through France and Germany. In terms of cultural pursuits you could bathe in premium Czech lager whilst drinking it in Prague’s Pivni Lazne Bernard (pivnilaznebernard.cz/en) Beer bathing in the Czech capital apparently dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was believed to be good for your skin.

New Picture (84)Standard Liege (Belgium) Pot: 2 Odds: 80/1 Pint Price: £1.30 Knocked us out of the equivalent competition a few years ago although their current side is nowhere near as good as that vintage, something that was proven as they were well and truly humbled 4-0 on aggregate by Zenit in the ECL qualifiers this week.  This was all the more alarming given that it was their rigid defence rather than their attack which won them their domestic league last season. They have also lost top scorer Michy Batshuayi, who has jumped ship to Marseille. In terms of travel, Liege is pretty easy to get to via the Eurostar or fly from Manchester to Brussels with Ryanair and then train the remaining 50 miles.

New PictureSteaua Bucharest (Romania) Pot:2  Odds: 150/1 Pint Price: £1.25 The reigning Romanian Champions also currently sit top of their domestic league. They play their big league games and European matches at the Arena Nacionake which has a 55,634 capacity and last time they were in the EL they averaged 46.330 per game. Their legendary players include Hagi and Iordanescu whilst their current key man is arguably striker Claudio Keseru – top scorer in their domestic league which including a record breaking sixgoal haul in one match. They once famously won the European Cup in 1986 and libepewl football club loved it so much they put a banner on the kop.

New Picture (95)Trabzonspor (Turkey) Pot: 2 Odds: N/A Pint Price: £2.00 Their ground has a capacity of 24,000 although they only averaged 15,298 per game in the EL last season so getting a seat in the home end won’t be a problem should you wish. If you are travelling via air, Turkish Airlines fly there fairly regularly from Manchester via Istanbul. They qualified by virtue of being the 4th placed side in the Turkish League and won through to the group phase after a 2 leg win over Russian also rans Rostov.

New Picture (76)Villarreal (Spain) Pot: 1 Odds: 25/1 Pint Price £1.67– Our conquerors of 2005 is  a bit of a mission to get to – for flights head to Valencia or check out the Skyscanner website for other options. Villarreal have made a comeback since relegation a few years ago and finished 6th last term in La Liga, albeit a whopping 31 points behind champions Athletico Madrid. Nigerian striker Ucho and Giovani Dos Santos were their top scoring duo last season although the real key men were probably Argentine defender Mateo Musacchio  and midfield general Bruno. Stadium capacity is still 24,890.

New Picture (82)Wolfsburg  (Germany) Pot: 2 Odds 33/1 Pint Price: £2.25 5th placed team in Germany last season and a very capable outfit albeit not of the same vintage of the Grafite / Dzeko vintage which won the Bundesliga a few years back. The VW Stadium holds 30,000 fans and to get there fly to Berlin and then catch a 2 hour train to Wolfsburg. Inside the ground the ‘Nordkurvensaal’ pub serves Wittingers and Stackmann’s complete with novelty bendy glass, which is nice. Entrance wise, the match tickets are as cheap as 15 euros usually. In terms of further reading, EFW have done a good review of the matchday experience here.

Enjoy the draw and if you have any other travel tit bits you’d like to share let us know and I’ll add into the above.

EB

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