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Europa League draw preview and chit-chat

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Who will Fiorentina get in the first knockout round of Europa League?

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Fiorentina won group K of Europa League and is now awaiting the opposition in the first knockout phase. Among the potential rivals in the round of sixteen are (sleepy) giants like Liverpool, a super-rich Tottenham, three times European champions Ajax, Sevilla etc. There are also some less intimidating teams that Fiorentina can encounter, such as Danish side Aalborg, Swiss Young Boys or Turkish Trabzonspor.

Fiorentina is among the sixteen seeded teams. That means that we cannot play against other seeded teams, like Everton, Athletic Bilbao, Borussia Monchengladbach. It also means we are going to play first game away from home and have the second leg at Artemio Franchi. Another rule is, we cannot meet other Italian teams (Torino or Roma, who are among the unseeded ones) or Guingamp which was in our group.

So, what is the worst possible draw for Fiorentina?

We'd go with Tottenham. Although possibly not stronger than Liverpool, on paper, Tottenham looks like the team that might care more about Europa League. While at it, we wouldn't mind avoiding the Reds, as well as the likes of Sevilla and Wolfsburg. And Dnipro, just because it's a long trip and they are, in fact, a tough team. We'd like to meet Villareal at some point, so Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Mati Fernandez could meet up with old friends and reminisce about the good ol' days, but perhaps not this early. In the final maybe? Cool.

What's the best possible draw?

Aalborg. Not to underestimate the Danes, but they are the weakest team in the competition. We wouldn't mind getting Young Boys either, although they showed they can be tough against Napoli. Ajax is a great club, and a team full of talent that wouldn't be easy to beat at all, but it would be a chance for revenge for a 2009, when they kicked us out.

Possible opponents:

Vilarreal (Spain)
Tottenham Hotspur (England)
Celtic (Scotland)
PSV Eindhoven (Holland)
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine)
Sevilla (Spain)
Wolfsburg (Germany)
Aalborg  (Denmark)
Young Boys (Switzerland)
Trabzonspor (Turkey)
Anderlecht (Belgium)
Ajax Amsterdam (Holland)
Liverpool (England)