Atlético de Madrid now know who they will face in their defence of the UEFA Europa League, as the draw for the group stage took place earlier this afternoon at the Grimaldi forum in Monaco.
Ahead of tonight’s Super Cup final against Chelsea, our star striker Radamel Falcao was chosen to help with the selection, and managed to give us a reasonably comfortable passage to the knock-out stage.
Drawn into Group B, we will face Hapoel Tel Aviv, Viktoria Plzeň and Académica de Coimbra.
None of the three teams have much European experience, although Hapoel (Israel) and Viktoria (Czech Republic) have both played in the Champions League within the last two years, qualifying for the first time in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Académica (Portugal) on the other hand are making their debut in continental competition, having overcome Sporting CP in the cup final last May, despite finishing narrowly above the relegation places domestically.
The one potential downside we face is the long trip to Israel to take on Hapoel, although overall we will be strong favourites to progress as group winners once again.
Fixtures and kick-off times will be confirmed in the next few days, with matchdays scheduled for September 20, October 4 and 25, November 8 and 22, and December 6.
Before the draw, vice-captain Tiago was obliged to return the Europa League trophy on our behalf, although he’ll be hoping to get his hands back on more silverware tonight in the Stade Louis II.
What are your thoughts on the draw? Are you planning to attend any of the games?