Despite being being the black sheep of European football, the draw for the group stages of the Europa League contained some impressive sides with the likes of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, the mighty AFC Ajax of Holland, Italian club Napoli and big spending French outfit AS Monaco all ready to get down and dirty in UEFA’s second tier competition.
After failing to build on the breathless title charge of the previous year and plodding to a disappointing sixth place finish last season, Liverpool, of course, were in the mixer as well with the Reds being drawn with Russian side Rubin Kazan, Ligue 1 outfit FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Swiss team FC Sion to round out Group B.
“I am dreaming about us playing at some English or German stadium,” said Rubin Kazan boss Rinat Bilyaletdinov in the build-up to the draw and it looks like he’ll get his wish. The Reds have never faced the Russian side before, but they do have history with both FC Sion and Bordeaux, dispatching the Swiss outfit over two legs in the 1996/1997 season and likewise the French in the 2006/2007 Champions League en route to the final in Athens.
The fixture list on the official website has now been updated with the Reds set to kick-off their Europa League campaign on September 17th against Bordeaux before a double home stand against the FC Sion and Rubin Kazan on October 1st and 22nd respectively. The reverse fixture in Russia is next on the docket on the 5th of November, followed by the French side visiting Anfield on November 26th and the final match of the Group Stage in Switzerland on the 10th of December.