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