Liverpool will face the Bundesliga outfit Augsburg. Jurgen Klopp will be pleased to make a return to Germany, and he’d be looking forward to reach the later stages of the tournament.
Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl was glad to be drawn against the five-time European champions. He said: “The anticipation of facing Liverpool is huge. Everyone was happy.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss might run into his old team as they are also involved in the tournament. Dortmund has a tough test against FC Porto in the round of 32. The Signal Iduna Park-based club are in scintillating form this season, and they are among genuine contenders to win the competition.
Manchester United will meet Danish football Midtjylland in the next round. Midtjylland chairman claimed that his side can beat the 20-time English champions. They defeated the Saints and club chairman Rasmus Ankersen believes that his side can build upon that victory.
Midtjylland chairman Rasmus Ankersen said: “We have already beaten one English team, so we are not afraid. We are a small club with a small budget and we know we can’t outspend them, so we have to out-think them and, so far, this way has worked for us in the Europa League.
“We know we have a chance and we will take up the challenge. If we can beat Southampton, we can beat Manchester United and the players will feel that and believe it.”
Tottenham will seek revenge against the Italian side Fiorentina, who knocked them out at the same stage last year. Fiorentina director general Andrea Rogg believes that the clash against the London-based club is big enough to be a Europa League final. Fiorentina are aiming to reach the final in Basel.
“Tottenham are a strong team – we know them very well after facing them last year. This is a match worthy of a Europa League final.
“Both the players and the coach [Paulo Sousa] know what it means to experience this kind of game, and we’ll be ready.
“We’re thinking about the two games against Tottenham, but our desire is to go as far as possible.”
There are many other interesting clashes in this first knock-out round. Galatasaray will come against the Italian club Lazio while Shakhtar Donetsk will face Schalke FC. Athletic Bilbao and Marseille will go head to head for the place in last 16. Sporting Lisbon vs. Bayer Leverkusen will also be an interesting fixture. Villarreal and Napoli are also among the teams that can reach the later stages of the tournament but, unfortunately, one of them would be eliminated as they face each other in the round of 32.