Marco Van Basten, Gianni Infantino, UEFA general secretary and Zinedine Zidane, drawing balls out of bowls. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

UEFA Europa League Draw: German And Spanish Clubs Drawn Together

Athletic Bilbao face Schalke 04, while Atletico Madrid take on Hannover 96.

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UEFA Europa League Draw 2012: Athletic Bilbao Face Schalke; All-Spanish Final Possible

There are no minnows left in the UEFA Europa League, but it's possible that the four best teams remaining have all drawn each other, at least based on their performances in this competition and their league form. The Eredivisie leaders AZ Alkmaar take on Spain's third placed team, Valencia. Manchester United's slayers, Athletic Bilbao, take on a Schalke team that looks likely to capture a Champions League place in the Bundesliga. Metalist Kharkiv will be happy with their draw, and the hopes of a nation are on their shoulders. Ukraine's coefficient will drop sharply when Shakhtar Donetsk's UEFA Cup win no longer counts after next year unless someone else matches their achievement.

Quartertinals (First legs on March 29, second legs on April 5)

AZ Alkmaar vs. Valencia
Schalke 04 vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Metalist Kharkiv
Atletico Madrid vs. Hannover 96

Semifinals (First legs on April 19, second legs on April 26)

Atleti/Hannover vs. AZ/Valencia
Sporting/Metalist vs. Schalke/Bilbao

An all-Spanish final seems even more likely than an all-Portuguese final seemed last season, before three Portuguese teams made the semifinal. The final will be played on May 9 in Bucharest.


UEFA Europa League Draw 2012: Spanish Clubs Now The Favorites

After the Champions League draw is over, stick around with top, top lad Gianni Infantino for the Europa League draw.

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