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Europa League draw preview and comment thread

Another year, another European competition for the Viola. Watch here for news on the draw.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

The slog to the Europa League trophy begins tomorrow. It ends on 24 May 2017 in Solna, Sweden. With the qualifying rounds all out of the way, Fiorentina and the other 63 teams will be waiting for the draw, hoping to avoid long trips or top-notch opponents. As Sevilla are in the Champions League this year, someone new may finally win the competition. Viola frenemies Tottenham are also in the Champions League, so yet another rematch doesn't seem too likely either.

Europa League DrawFriday, 26 August 016 1:00 PM CET, 7:00 AM ET Grimaldi ForumMonaco

Pot 1

Ajax (Netherlands)

Anderlecht (Belgium)

Athletic Bilbao (Spain)

Fiorentina (Italy, duh)

Inter Milan (Italy)

Manchester United (England)

Olympiacos (Greece)

Schalke 04 (Germany)

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)

Viktoria Plzen (Czechia)

Villarreal (Spain)

Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia)

Pot 2

AS Roma (Italy)

APOEL (Cyprus)

AZ (Netherlands)

Braga (Portugal)

Fenerbahce (Turkey)

Genk (Belgium)

PAOK (Greece)

Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)

Saint-Etienne (France)

Sparta Prague (Czechia)

Standard Liege (Belgium)

Steaua Bucuresti (Romania)

Pot 3

Austria Wien (Austria)

Celta Vigo (Spain)

FC Zurich (Switzerland)

Feyenoord (Netherlands)

Gent (Belgium)

Krasnodar Kuban (Russia)

Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

Mainz 05 (Germany)

Rapid Wien (Austria)

Slovan Liberec (Czechia)

Southampton (England)

Young Boys (Switzerland)

Pot 4

Astana (Kazakhstan)

Astra Giurgiu (Romania)

Dundalk (Ireland)

Gabala (Azerbaijan)

Hapoel Be'er Sheva (Israel)

Konyaspor (Turkey)

Nice (France)

Osmanlispor (Turkey)

Panathinaikos (Greece)

Qarabag (Azerbaijan)

Sassuolo (Italy)

Zorya Luhansk (Ukraine)

So-called analysis

With a spot in Pot 1, Fiorentina will avoid most of the heavy hitters, as well as Roma (teams from the same nation can't be drawn into the same group). AZ Alkmaar and Red Bull Salzburg are two of the tougher teams in Pot 2; Viola fans will probably hoping for Sparta Prague or PAOK, although nobody in the second tier of the tournament is really a pushover. Pot 3, however, is just as tricky, as the squads in it are either quality or necessitate long and arduous journeys. Austria Wien, Gent, or Slovan Liberec are probably the best mix of winnability and distance. Pot 4 (which also has Sassuolo) is mostly a far-flung selection of teams, with Nice being the nearest and thus probably the best opponent so as to avoid traveling to Azerbaijan or Israel or something.

The draw will be held on Friday, 26 August 2016, at 1:00 PM CEST in the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The Fiorentina contingent, led by Andrea Rogg, has already arrived. As Giancarlo Antognoni has already refused a role as goodwill ambassador (translation: person who walks up on stage), Martin Jorgensen is the next man up.