The Champions League draw has happened, and now itâs time to turn our attention to Europeâs other cup. Thereâs no time for messing about here, with the draw but 20 minutes or so away, so hereâs the key information:
Seeded teams: Arsenal, Benfica*, Betis, Chelsea, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kyiv, Frankfurt, Genk, Internazionale*, Leverkusen, Napoli*, Salzburg, Sevilla, Valencia*, Villarreal, Zenit St Petersburg
Unseeded teams: Bate Borisov, Celtic, Club Brugge*, FenerbahÃ§e, Galatasaray*, Krasnodar, Lazio, MalmÃ¶, Olympiacos, Rapid Wien, Rennes, Slavia Praha, Sporting CP, Shakhtar Donetsk*, Viktoria PlzeÅ*, ZÃ¼rich
*transferred from UEFA Champions League
Hereâs the relevant bit of the competition regulations:
17.01 In the round of 32, the 24 clubs that qualify from the group stage are joined by the 8 clubs that finish the Uefa Champions League group stage in third place (see Paragraph 3.06).
17.02 The round of 32 pairings are determined by means of a draw in accordance with the following principles:
a. Clubs from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
b. The 12 Uefa Europa League group-winners and the 4 best third-placed teams from the Uefa Champions League group stage are drawn against the 12 Uefa Europa League group runners-up and the remaining third-placed teams from the Uefa Champions League group stage.
c. The winners and runners-up of the same group cannot be drawn against each other.
d. The Uefa Europa League group-winners and the four best third-placed teams from the Uefa Champions League group stage play the return leg at home.
17.03 The 16 winners of the round of 32 contest the round of 16, for which the pairings are determined by means of a draw.
So, in brief:
- No team can play a club from their group or their own association; any other restrictions will be announced ahead of the draw.
- Seeded teams (all the group winners and the top four third-place Champions League teams) will be away in the round of 32 first legs on 14 February and at home in the return matches a week later (any changes to be confirmed after the draw).
Right, brace yourself for some more top-notch ball-pluckinâ fun!