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Open Champions League, Europa League Draw Thread

Valerio Pennicino

The good thing about this thread being thrown up today is that Juventus will be involved in a draw for the first knockout round of a European competition. The bad thing about today's draw that will have Juventus' name called at some point in time is that it's not the one everybody was hoping for.

The Champions League draw will come and go with no 'Juventus' being called out from some dude in a fancy suit. Nope, Juve will be in that other draw, the one that immediately follows the big-time tournament.

I think we know who to blame for it. But I'm done beating that dead horse. Let sitting dogs lie...or something like that.

In case you've forgotten the list of teams still in the Europa League, here's a quick list for you to gander at

Valencia CF (ESP, Group A)
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL, B)
FC Salzburg (AUT, C)
FC Rubin Kazan (RUS, D)
ACF Fiorentina (ITA, E)
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER, F)
KRC Genk (BEL, G)
Sevilla FC (ESP, H)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA, I)
Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR, J)
Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG, K)
AZ Alkmaar (NED, L)
SSC Napoli (ITA)*
SL Benfica (POR)*
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)*
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)*

Swansea City AFC (ENG, Group A)
FC Chornomorets Odeas (UKR, B)
Esbjerg fB (DEN, C)
NK Maribor (SVN, D)
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR, E)
Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR, F)
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR, G)
FC Slovan Liberec (CZE, H)
Real Betis Balompié (TUR, I)
SS Lazio (ITA, J)
FC Anji Makhachkala (RUS, K)
AFC Ajax (NED)*
Juventus (ITA)*
FC Porto (POR)*
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)

* Transferred from the UEFA Champions League

Cross all the other Italian teams off the list because, well, they're from Italy and that's not allowed in the first knockout round. So now Juve have a few less options to worry about getting. Just from a personal view: I hope it's a fairly challenging one so that Antonio Conte and his squad are able to really try and take this thing seriously right out of the gate. We know how Juve have done against the better opponents, but it's the weaker ones — or the Danish under Conte — that seem to give them the biggest troubles.

So this is your chance to discuss both draws. One after the other, nothing all too difficult.

Hopefully in a few months we'll be talking about Juventus playing a European final in their own stadium. Sure it's not the European final we were hoping for, but that'd still be pretty damn fun to watch.