Juventus ended up sailing into the Europa League Round of 16 after an inspired performance from Angel Di Maria saw them see off Nantes 3-0 in France tonight.
The World Cup winner netted a hat-trick to deflate the hosts after a bright start for the Canaries had them starting to believe that they would manage a ‘humiliating’ upset of the Italian giants.
We will find out early tomorrow morning who Juve play next as the eight teams to make it through the playoffs are drawn against the eight seeded sides who won their respective groups.
Draw Date & Time & How To Watch
The draw for the Round of 16 will be held at UEFA’s headquarters at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.
The event is on Friday, February 24 starting at 12pm CET (6am EST, 3am PT).
The draw will be live streamed on the UEFA website.
Who are the Eight Seeded Teams
The eight teams who won their respective groups went directly into the Round of 16 draw as seeded teams, with the advantage of playing at home in the second leg.
- Arsenal (England)
- Fenerbahce (Turkey)
- Real Betis (Spain)
- Union Saint-Gilloise (Belgium)
- Real Sociedad (Spain)
- Feyenoord (Netherlands)
- Freiburg (Germany)
- Ferencvaros (Hungary)
Who are the Eight Playoff Qualifiers
In the playoff round eight teams that finished third in their Champions League groups and were eliminated from the competition were drawn against the eight teams that finished in second place in their Europa League groups.
Juventus had finished third in Champions League Group H edging out minnows Maccabi Haifa on goal difference, and went up against Nantes who had ended up second against Nantes in Europa League Group G.
- Juventus (Italy) [beat Nantes 4-1 on aggregate]
- Sevilla (Spain) [beat PSV 3-2 on aggregate]
- Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) [beat Monaco 5-4 on penalties]
- Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) [beat Midtjylland 5-1 on aggregate]
- Manchester United (England) [beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate]
- Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) [beat Rennes 5-4 on sudden death penalties]
- Union Berlin (Germany) [beat Ajax Amsterdam 3-1 on aggregate]
- AS Roma (Italy) [beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 on aggregate]
No two teams from the same country can be drawn against each other. After this round however there are no more restrictions with any team able to play any one else.
The Europa League Round of 16 first leg games will be played on March 9, with the return leg games a week later on March 16.
Who Could Juventus Draw
Juventus could face any of the eight seeded teams since no Italian teams won their group.
Arsenal will be by far the most difficult challenge for the Bianconeri. The Gunners are in fine form this season and despite their recent hiccups, remain two points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand as well over the defending Premier League champions.
The Spanish pair of Real Sociedad and Real Betis could be an equally difficult challenge for Juve. Sociedad are third in La Liga, won Group E ahead of Manchester United, and recently held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw in the league after being eliminated from the Copa del Rey narrowly by Barcelona.
Betis are not far behind, sitting in fifth just four points behind Atletico Madrid. They’ve played Barcelona twice since the World Cup, and have run their opponents close both times though they do show real disciplinary issued having picked up ten red cards in all competitions this season, including finishing six points clear of Roma in Group C.
The Bundesliga title race is the closest it’s been in decades, with three teams tied on points at the top, and another three teams within five points of the lead. Freiburg sit in fourth place, three points off Bayern Munich, and comfortably won Group G, beating Nantes 2-0 at home and 4-0 in France to finish five points clear. They have been hammered 5-0 by Bayern however, and third-placed Union Berlin also spanked them 5-1 though they played a man down.
Storied Dutch club Feyenoord have hit upon harder times in recent decades, and played their part in a dramatic Group F where all four teams finished level on 8 points, with goal difference separating the quartet. Lazio were victims of that group, having beaten the Dutch side 4-2 in Italy but losing 1-0 on matchday six to end their European campaign. Feyenoord currently lead the Eredivisie three points ahead of Ajax Amsterdam, and last lost a game in late October.
Turkish side Fenerbahce sit in second place in the Super Lig, nine points adrift of runaway leaders Galatasaray. As we well know, playing against teams from Turkey has been difficult with the away legs usually a nightmare to navigate between substandard pitches and a cauldron-like atmosphere. They had won Group B ahead of Rennes.
Union Saint-Gilloise are a surprise outfit, sitting in second place in the Belgian Jupiler League but an almost impossible seven points behind Genk. It would be foolish to underestimate the side that finished ahead of another surprise team Union Berlin.
Finally we have another historic European side that has not been able to replicate successes from previous decades - Ferencvaros lead the Hungarian top division by fourteen points, and won Group H ahead of more well-known names AS Monaco (third in Ligue 1), Trabzonspor (6th in Turkey) and Crvena zvezda who lead the Serbian league.