The Europa League Round of 16 draw has been made with West Ham United and Rangers still battling away in the competition and both have been given interesting draws.
David Moyes’ Hammers have been drawn against La Liga side Sevilla, who have won this competition on six occasions, more than any other side in the tournament’s history. It is sure to be an exciting clash between the two sides but West Ham will face their toughest test in Europe this term against Julen Lopetegui’s side.
West Ham have suffered from inconsistent performances in recent weeks as their quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League becomes increasingly difficult, and they will have to be at their best if they are to defeat the competition’s serial winners.
As for Rangers, after outclassing Borussia Dortmund over 180 minutes they will be delighted with the draw they’ve been handed against Red Star Belgrade. They may not like the idea of having the Ibrox clash in the first-leg but with the way the stadium was rocking and how the players performed against Dortmund, they could potentially put the tie to bed.
They will definitely want to travel to Serbia with an advantage in the tie because it will be a tough place to play for a second-leg. Nonetheless, Rangers fans will be happy with the draw and will start planning for their next European fixture.
Two of the other interesting ties to look out for in the Round of 16 are Porto v Lyon and Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen. In Porto, you have the two-time winners of the competition going up against French club Lyon who are still searching for their first major European title, having reached the semi-finals across the Champions League and Europa League on three occasions - twice in the last six seasons.
Italian side Atalanta have made quite the impression on European competition in recent seasons and they will face one of the Bundesliga’s high-flying sides who have an array of talent in their ranks. Both are shaping up to be gripping battles and they are sure to attract the attention of many neutral supporters.
Barcelona were drawn against Galatasaray, which manager Xavi and his players should be pleased with. With the upturn in form the Catalan giants have gone through since the Spaniard’s appointment, they will be feeling confident that they can still achieve success through the turbulent times at the club off the field.
RB Leipzig were drawn against Spartak Moscow, but it has already been confirmed that Spartak’s home leg will have to be played at a neutral ground as a result of the growing political crisis caused by Russia in Ukraine.
Rangers v Red Star Belgrade
SC Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham United
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt
*18+ | BeGambleAware