Europa League draw: Red Bull-owned clubs face off
Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg are in the same section as Germany’s RB Leipzig, along with Scottish champions Celtic and Norwegian side Rosenborg.
Leipzig was founded in 2009 with backing from the energy-drinks maker and won four promotions in seven seasons, while Red Bull bought Salzburg in 2005, though the company no longer has a controlling stake and just sponsors the club.
Though Uefa prohibits clubs with strong links from playing in Europe in the same season, after a month-long investigation European football’s governing body said in June that both clubs could play in the Champions League, though they subsequently did not qualify for the group stages and will now contest the Europa League instead.
Meanwhile, English Premier League sides Chelsea and Arsenal received relatively favorable draws with the latter in the same group as Azerbaijan’s Qarabag, Ukraine’s FC Vorskla and Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon.
Arsenal are now managed by Spaniard Unai Emery, who guided Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League titles.
Chelsea, who won the competition in 2013, will be favorites to progress as group leaders after being drawn alongside PAOK of Greece, Belarus’ Bate and Hungarian side Vidi.
For the football romantics, FC Dudelange — the first team from Luxembourg to qualify for the competition — will face seven-times European champions AC Milan with both teams in Group F, along with Spain’s Real Betis and Olympiacos of Greece.
The first round of matches take place on September 20, while this season’s final will be held in Azerbaijan’s Baku on May 29.
Europa League group stage draw
- Group A: Leverkusen, Ludogorets, Zurich, AEK Larnaca
- Group B: Salzburg, Celtic, Leipzig, Rosenborg
- Group C: Zenit, Kobenhavn, Bordeaux, Slavia Praha
- Group D: Anderlecht, Fenerbahce, Dinamo Zagreb, Spartak Trnava
- Group E: Arsenal, Sporting CP, Qarabag, Vorskla
- Group F: Olympiacos, AC Milan, Real Betis, Dudelange
- Group G: Villarreal, Rapid Wien, Spartak Moskva, Rangers
- Group H: Lazio, Marseille, Frankfurt, Apollon
- Group I: Besiktas, Genk, Malmo, Sarpsborg
- Group J: Sevilla, Krasnodar, Standard Liege, Akhisar
- Group K: Dynamo Kiev, Astana, Rennes, Jablonec
- Group L: Chelsea, PAOK, BATE, Vidi