Barcelona given tricky test in standout fixture of Europa League draw

TEAMtalk staff
Xavi hernandez, Barcelona manager, November 2021

Barcelona have been handed another difficult European clash after being drawn against Napoli for the Europa League knockout play-off round.

The Spanish giants find themselves trying to keep alive their hopes of European football. They finished third in their Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Benfica.

It is the first time since 2003-04, when Barcelona were in the UEFA Cup, that the Catalan club will not be in the knockout stages of the Champions League. They have won that competition five times.

Napoli, winners of the competition in 1989, progressed from a Europa League group which included Leicester. They beat the Foxes 3-2 in the final group game in Naples.

The competition’s most successful club Sevilla were paired with Dinamo Zagreb.

Sevilla, who have won the title a record six times, will have added incentive to add to that tally. This season’s final will be taking place at their Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

Barcelona trio put on transfer lis

As part of the Xavi era, three former key players have now been made available.

Real Betis also see the final hosted in their home city. They will play 2008 winners Zenit St Petersburg.

Rangers drawn against Dortmund in Europa League

Scottish champions Rangers, who finished second in their Europa League group behind Lyon, will play Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile Porto, winners of the competition in 2003 and 2011, will be up against Lazio.

Moldovan minnows Sheriff Tiraspol are in the knockout stages of a European competition for the first time in their history. They will play Portuguese side Braga.

Atalanta face Olympiacos. RB Leipzig will play against Real Sociedad.

The ties are scheduled to take place in February. The first legs will be on the 17th and the return matches on the 24th.

Newcastle likely to be busiest during an unusually-hectic January transfer window