Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen draw tricky round-of-16 opponents

The Europa Leauge final will be held in Dublin on May 22nd
All eyes were on who would draw heavyweights Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League's round-of-16 draw on Friday and we now know the full schedule for the next knockout phase in March.

Liverpool will be relatively pleased to have drawn Czech champions Sparta Prague compared to what else was on the table. However, Sparta’s victory over Galatasaray in the first knockout stage proved they are no pushovers.

Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, picked up the longest possible trip of all in drawing Azerbaijan’s Qarabag, who knocked Braga out of the competition on Thursday.

Other standout ties include Roma drawing Brighton and Sporting meeting on-form Serie A side Atalanta. Italian giants AC Milan will be playing the other Prague team, Slavia.

Three of the matchups are repeat clashes from the group stage.

The draw is as follows:

Sparta Prague vs Liverpool

Marseille vs Villarreal

Roma vs Brighton

Benfica vs Rangers

Freiburg vs West Ham

Sporting vs Atalanta

AC Milan vs Slavia Prague

Qarabag vs Bayer Leverkusen


The round of 16 will be held over two legs in March with the group-stage winners playing the return legs at home.

The first legs are scheduled for March 7th, with the second legs a week later on March 14th. However, due to an anticipated city clash between Benfica and Sporting, one of their first-leg matches will be played on Tuesday (March 5th) instead.


For the draw, the 16 teams were divided into two groups – the first consisting of the group-stage winners (seeded) and the second of the first knockout stage winners (unseeded).

The seeded teams could not draw each other and vice versa for the unseeded. Additionally, teams from the same national federation were not able to meet in the last 16.

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