UEFA Europa League: First knockout round preview

Epsilon

The first round of the Europa League has a few interesting matchups, with Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Liverpool the game of the round.

There are a few encounters in the Europa League on Thursday which could throw up a few surprises and interesting games. The tournament has a while to go before it really heats up, but there is plenty of fun to be found at the early levels with a few giants set to make an early exit.

Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Liverpool is probably the biggest game of the night, and although both teams are in poor form, the game should be an entertaining one as both sides have little to lose. It'll be a difficult away trip for the Reds, but it'll be interesting to see if their home record in Europe can hold up - it hasn't in the league so far this season, and with fourth place looking increasingly distant, Brendan Rodgers' men will want to go full-throttle at the chance to win a trophy.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen host Benfica in what should be a good game between two fine teams, particularly with Leverkusen aiming to get over their recent woes in the league - they will be hungry for success in this competition. Tottenham vs. Lyon could also produce a decent spectacle, with both teams playing steadily and having ambitions to progress in the tournament.

Newcastle have the easiest game of the Premier League sides, as they face Metalist Kharkiv, while their fellow Ukrainians, the impressive Dnipro, will be looking to show they have what it takes to compete against Basel. Finally, Atletico Madrid could be worth a watch - the hosts will doubtless be looking to build up a commanding lead, as the second leg will involve a midweek trip to Siberia, not good for a flagging side looking to consolidate in the league.


Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Hannover 96

Zenit St Petersburg vs. Liverpool

Ajax vs. Steaua Bucharest

BATE Borisov vs. Fenerbache

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Benfica

Dynamo Kiev vs. Bordeaux

Levante vs. Olympiakos

Napoli vs. Viktoria Plzen

Sparta Prague vs. Chelsea

Atletico Madrid vs. Rubin Kazan

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Lazio

FC Basel vs. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Inter Milan vs. CFR Cluj-Napoca

Newcastle vs. Metalist Kharkiv

Tottenham vs. Lyon

VfB Stuttgart vs. Genk

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.