Long Europa trips for British trio

All three British sides have been handed trips to Russia in the draw for the Europa League group stage.

Last Updated: 30/08/13 at 19:58 Post Comment

Tottenham: Drawn in Group K with Anzhi, Sheriff and Tromso

Tottenham: Drawn in Group K with Anzhi, Sheriff and Tromso

Britain's three Europa League representatives will all face trips to Russia following the draw for the group stage in Monaco.

Tottenham, among the top seeds, will face Anzhi Makhachkala plus Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova and Tromso in Norway - 200 miles north of the Arctic circle and where the sun barely shines in winter.

Wigan will go to Rubin Kazan, Maribor of Slovenia and Zulte Waregem in Belgium while Swansea have a tough-looking group featuring Spanish side Valencia, Russian side Kuban Krasnodar and St Gallen of Switzerland.

The concern for all the clubs will be the length of the journeys and how it fits in with their domestic league matches.

Spurs at least should not have to travel to Makhachkala, home city of one-time big spenders Anzhi who have shed many of their star players in recent months in a drastic cost-cutting exercise.

Trouble with armed dissidents means that their home matches in Europe have been played in Moscow rather than at Anzhi's home stadium on the Caspian Sea.

Tottenham start with Tromo at home on Thursday, September 19 with the rest of the fixture list confirmed to be Anzhi (A), Sheriff (A), Sheriff (H), Tromso (A) and Anzhi (H).

Swansea have arguably the toughest opponents of all in Valencia, but with seven Spaniards in the squad - and manager Michael Laudrup having been in charge of La Liga side Getafe before taking over at the Liberty Stadium - they will have some inside information.

Swans general manager Alun Cowie said: "From a football point of view Valencia is the team that stood out and for our Spanish contingent they are going to be two great games.

"We have Pablo Hernandez, formerly of Valencia, and six other boys who have played at the very highest level of La Liga and we are going to need that experience.

"All three of us from the UK have Russian opponents and hopefully the fixtures will be kind to us for the Premier League matches afterwards.

"We have a great squad with virtually two players for every position, but we can't take our eye off the ball in the Premier League."

Swansea's trip to Valencia comes first on Thursday, September 19 with the order of the other fixtures revealed as St Gallen (H), Kuban (H), Kuban (A), Valencia (H) and St Gallen (A).

Wigan chief executive Jonathan Jackson said the Latics will enjoy their first European adventure.

He said: "Playing in Europe is about experiencing new places and going to new clubs and it's something we are really looking forward to.

"It's a group where we can certainly compete and we won't take anyone likely but we have every chance."

Wigan's opener comes at Zulte Waregem. The first home game for the Latics is against Maribor on matchday two with the rest of the games in order of Kazan (H), Kazan (A), Zulte (H) and Maribor (A).

Group A

Valencia
Swansea
Kuban Krasnodar
St Gallen

Group B

PSV
Dinamo Zagreb
Chornomorets
Ludogorets

Group C

Standard Liege
SV Red Bull Salzburg
IF Elfsborg
Esbjerg

Group D

Rubin Kazan
Wigan
Maribor
Zulte Waregem

Group E

Fiorentina
Dnipro
Pacos Ferreira
Pandurii Targu Jiu

Group F

Bordeaux
Apoel Nicosia
Eintracht Frankfurt
Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Group G

Dynamo Kiev
Genk
Rapid Vienna
FC Thun

Group H

Sevilla
Freiburg
Estoril
Praia Liberec

Group I

Lyon
Real Betis
Guimaraes
Rijeka

Group J

Lazio
Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw
Apollon Limassol

Group K

Spurs
Anzhi Makhachkala
FC Sheriff
Tromso

Group L

AZ
PAOK Salonika
Maccabi Haifa
Shakhtyor Karagandy


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