UEFA Europa League 2009/10 - round of 32 draw
Interest grew ahead of this season's secondary UEFA club competition as they changed their five team league format to a more conventional Champions League type group phase.
The shift was in the pipeline years as dwindling interest meant the old UEFA Cup had become as Mickey Mouse to the Champions League as the Carling Cup is to the FA Cup.
Whether the move has been beneficial is still up for debate, however, as we prepare for the second round draw on Friday 18 December, there is real cause for excitement as two of Europe's juggernauts bring just a hint of Champions League glamour.
Liverpool and Juventus, two of the prized names in World football, failed to get going in their Champions League campaigns and they're now forced to mix it with the likes of Fulham, Red Bull Salzburg and Club Brugge.
And as if ending the year in the Europa League wasn't embarrassing enough for the Reds they also have to settle for being amongst the teams in pot two, the unseeded pot.
It means progress is far from guaranteed with potential clashes against Benfica, Valencia and Shakhtar Donestsk a very real option as early as the opening round.
The question now becomes, are the big boys aiming for some easily attainable European silverware or will the Europa League, has it so often has in the past, become a nuissance that detracts from a tough and more meaningful domestic campaign?
Pot 1 (seeded teams): Anderlecht (80/1), Valencia (11/1), Hapoel Tel Aviv (100/1), Sporting (40/1), Roma (14/1), Galatasaray (16/1), Salzburg (33/1), Fenerbahce (20/1), Benfica (14/1), Shakhtar Donetsk (11/1), PSV Eindhoven (33/1), Werder Bremen (14/1), Unirea Urziceni (100/1), Juventus (10/1), Wolfsburg (33/1), Marseille (25/1)
Pot 2: Ajax (33/1), Lille (50/1), Hamburg (12/1), Hertha Berlin (80/1), Fulham (33/1), Panathinaikos (33/1), Villarreal (20/1), Twente (40/1), Everton (20/1), Club Brugge (125/1), Copenhagen (125/1), Atheltic Bilbao (50/1), Liverpool (13/2), Rubin Kazan (25/1), Standard Liege (80/1), Atletico Madrid (20/1)
Round of 32 fixtures to be played 18 Feb (1st Leg) and 25 Feb (2nd leg)
|Seeded teams play the first leg away from home|
|Rubin Kazan v Hapoel Tel-Aviv|
|Athletic v Anderlecht|
|Copenhagen v Marseille|
|Panathinaikos v Roma|
|Atletico Madrid v Galatasaray|
|Ajax v Juventus|
|Brugge v Valencia|
|Fulham v Shakhtar Donetsk|
|Liverpool v Unirea Urziceni|
|Hamburg v PSV Eindhoven|
|Villarreal v Wolfsburg|
|Standard Liege v Salzburg|
|Twente v Werder Bremen|
|Lille v Fenerbahce|
|Everton v Sporting|
|Hertha v Benfica|