Manchester United head for Denmark after being dumped out of Champions League
Under-fire manager Louis van Gaal at least has an easier option in the round of 32 of the Europa League; Liverpool also avoid a high-profile clash in taking on German side Augsburg while Tottenham are away to Fiorentina
Dumped out of the Champions League, Manchester United’s next European match will be a trip to western Denmark.
United were paired with Danish champion Midtjylland on Monday in the round of 32 of the Europa League.
Midtjylland, noted for their progressive management, were formed in 1999, midway through the English club’s celebrated treble-winning season when they won the second of their three European titles.
With United coach Louis van Gaal under increasing scrutiny for his team’s results and playing style, Midtjylland at least is a lower-key option than facing a Valencia team now coached by former Old Trafford great Gary Neville.
Valencia, the 2004 Uefa Cup champion, were the first team picked and were paired with Rapid Vienna.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp also avoided a high-profile reunion, though he will head back to Germany. The Reds were drawn to face Augsburg, with the first leg on February 18 and the second leg a week later.
Klopp’s former club, unseeded Borussia Dortmund, were paired with FC Porto.
Like United and Porto, two-time defending Europa League champion Sevilla dropped into the second-tier competition after placing third in a Champions League group.
Sevilla, which were the first team to take up the Champions League place now awarded to the Europa League champions, will host Molde in the first leg.
In other pairings, Fiorentina meet Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk take on Schalke, Villarreal come up against Napoli, Saint-Etienne play FC Basel and Fenerbahce meet Lokomotiv Moscow.
The Fenerbahce-Lokomotiv match will be the first competitive meeting between Turkish and Russian clubs amid political tension between the countries.