Europa League draw: Brighton get royalty, Liverpool should cruise, Hammers get Olympiakos

News Desk
Sevilla win the Europa League

Europa League debutants Brighton were drawn to take on former Champions League winners Ajax and Marseille in Friday’s group stage draw.

Roberto De Zerbi’s men secured a first season in continental football with a sixth-place finish in last season’s Premier League table, and their reward is matches against four-time European champions Ajax and the 1993 European Cup winners Marseille.

The Seagulls’ other group opponents are reigning Greek champions AEK Athens, with the first round of group stage games to be played on Thursday, September 21.

Liverpool, three-time winners of the competition in its former guise of the UEFA Cup, were placed alongside LASK of Austria, Belgian club Union St Gilloise and Toulouse from France.

The third Premier League representatives in Friday’s draw were West Ham by virtue of their victory in last season’s Europa Conference League final.

The Hammers go up against 47-time Greek champions Olympiacos, German club Freiburg and European debutants TSC Backa Topola from Serbia.

Rangers, who dropped into the Europa League after suffering a Champions League play-off defeat to PSV Eindhoven earlier this week, will take on Real Betis from Spain.

It means another trip to Seville for the Light Blues, where they lost the 2022 Europa League final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Also paired with Rangers are Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic and Cypriot champions Aris Limassol.

The winners of the eight groups progress straight to the last 16, while the eight runners-up will take on the eight third-placed sides from the Champions League group stage in the knockout round play-offs.

This season’s final takes place in Dublin on May 22.