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Monday, 16 December 2013 12:40

German and Greek opposition for FC Porto and Benfica in the Europa League

Potential clashes with Napoli and Tottenham Hotspur in last 16


The draw for the next two rounds of the Europa League has paired FC Porto and Benfica with Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) and PAOK (Greece) respectively.

As an unseeded team, Porto could have faced theoretically tougher opposition. A trip to Germany is never easy, but with Eintracht  Frankfurt currently languishing in 15th place in the Bundesliga, the Dragons will feel confident they can progress. Should they do so, they will face the winners of the tie between Swansea City and Napoli for a place in the quarter-finals.

Benfica, runners-up in the competition last year, were drawn against PAOK of Greece, for whom two former Benfica players, Miguel Vítor and Katsouranis play. If Benfica overcome the Greeks, they will play either Dnipro or Tottenham Hotspur in the next round. The knock-out stages will almost certainly throw up some exciting ties and a great place to keep an eye on the latest scores is Scores.co.uk.

Round of 32:
FC Porto v Eintracht Frankfurt
PAOK v Benfica
(ties played on 20 and 27 February 2014)

Round of 16:
FC Porto/Eintracht Frankfurt v Swansea/Napoli
Dnipro/Tottenham v PAOK/Benfica
(ties played on 13 and 20 March 2014)

Comments (11)
On a side note
11 Tuesday, 17 December 2013 15:41
Some interesting news out of FIFPro.
"FIFPro has announced that it is launching a legal challenge against the transfer system, claiming the current FIFA regulations “impede the players’ freedom to move.”

The following quote is what raised my eyebrows;

"The union argues that clubs who lose young players are claiming compensation “at much higher levels than cost incurred.”

Basically, they are stating that clubs are overcharging for players transfer fees on players that they've brought up through their system. Meaning the costs incurred don't come near to the amount charged.
FIFPro is failing to state the money lost on the players that didn't make it, and the cost into finding said players.

What is interesting is that such a statement should cause clubs to go out and buy talent instead of growing it, since they would get a better return on investment. Yes, the Barca's and clubs of the like, could develop and keep that developed talent, but countries that depend on transfer fees, this could be a blow to the domestic market.

I'm appalled that there's clubs not paying players. These clubs knew the contracts that they gave, and it's inexcusable that they're allowed to operate. This happens a lot in Spain, and there seems to be no repercussions.

The following is also startling;

“Thousands of players worldwide are not paid on time, or not at all, while 28 percent of the global transfer market (an estimated $750 million annually) is paid to agents and lost to the game. Something is not right with this picture."

- Aren't the players the one's that hire the agents to negotiate contracts. Are they going after the "Financial Groups" that are buying percentage of players fro clubs?

I know that they're looking to overhaul the transfer market in general, but we'll see what happens.


10 Tuesday, 17 December 2013 13:26
Nelson, clearly you didn't watch last seasons final. By all accounts, from pundits, Benfica were by far the better squad that night.
It was a gut wrenching end to the season, but Benfica did not go into that match defeated.
Let me add that I thought they would have had a let down after the Porto match, but to their credit they didn't.

Frankly this campaign, league and CL, has been disappointing. We haven't looked convincing at all.
benfica should go far
9 Tuesday, 17 December 2013 08:33
nelson canada
I hope to see benfica have a long run at the Europa league. Because last year they gave up in the final game. But if they have to face Napoli it's tough team considering what I have seen in sera a this year so far.
Not much to add
8 Tuesday, 17 December 2013 03:33
Both our teams (Benfica & Porto) should give Juventus - so called best side in this year's edition a run for their money.

I'm not anticipating these games.. we've proven ourselves time over again and we have the quality to run deeper in the CL.

This is a joke. I agree.. play the reserve team please. The primary guys aren't hungry for Europa anymore.
Expect a few surprise knockouts
7 Monday, 16 December 2013 21:26
While for mid-table clubs this is the best it will get, for top clubs which are competing for domestic titles/CL qualification, the early rounds are likely to be taken as an opportunity to rotate players. This always can create opportunities for upsets and I strongly believe Benfica, Porto, Napoli, Tott, Juvi, etc… are no different. Like any fan I would love to see my club win any European title however given how tight the title race is it won’t shock me if the club rotates several players for the EL match. Throw in a compressed schedule and I fully expect a couple of upsets.
Decent draws for both
6 Monday, 16 December 2013 19:54
Theoretically both SLB and FCP should be strong favourites to beat their opponents. Both are quite a lot stronger than PAOK and Frankfurt respectively and therefore both should advance. However this is in theory, in reality both clubs should've qualified from manageable CL groups and both failed, so who knows? It also remains to be seen how seriously they take the EL, as winning the Liga title should be the bigger priority.

I agree Jon, I want to see JJ rotate the squad big time, at least for the first couple of rounds of the EL, as to me at least, the Liga is a much bigger priority. Just like last season there's no question which trophy I'd rather win and last season's EL run took a lot of energy out of our Liga campaign. This campaign shouldn't have to necessarily if we end up making a deep run again, providing JJ utilises this whole strong squad across both competitions, and uses the players you mention in these early rounds of the EL, while saving others for the Liga.
We need to salvage points...
5 Monday, 16 December 2013 19:36
I hope both Porto and Benfica take the Europa League with utmost seriousness. Our progress in Europe this year has been one of the worst for a long time. If Porto and Benfica can push deep into this competition, we can salvage UEFA coeffecient points.
Tough for Porto
4 Monday, 16 December 2013 18:53
With Vilas Boas gone I think Spurs could suffer in Europe. and Dnipro have been solid so I would not be surprised if an upset occurs but Spurs would go in favourites. In my opionion, a lot will depend on who their new coach is and how soon he can rally the team into a co-cohesive unit.

@jon/usa - I totally agree we should play the second stringers as Paok (no disrespect) is a team we should be beating easily. I'd love to see Bernardo Silva get a run to be honest and who knows if he takes his chance then he could get more chances in the Liga. I also agree that Vittoria needs more game time but I'm not sold on Silvio as a defensive player but he does offer a lot in attack. I'd also leave Luisao on the bench and play Jardel as we'll need him fresh towards the end of the season plus Garay could be sold this January.

I think Porto will beat Eintracht but Napoli are an extremely tough prospect on paper but I just wonder if they will be taking the competition seriously. With Rafa Benitez managing the side you would have to say yes and that could be bad news for Porto. Napoli and Juventus are probably the best teams in the competition but will they take it seriously and play their first team as there are just 3 Champions league places in Italy now and a bunch of teams Juve, Inter, Milan, Lazio, Napoli , Roma etc who will be fighting it out for those 3 places.
tough draw for Benfica
3 Monday, 16 December 2013 17:01
Z / Canada
PAOK will be very tough for Benfica... they are a solid team, and Greeks and Serbs are close neighbours.

I think the Serbs will still be favs.
Not a priority
2 Monday, 16 December 2013 15:43
While it would be nice to make a deep run in the Europa League, the Primeira Liga should always be our priority. I don't want to see JJ use our most important starters in this competition, especially against PAOK. We have more than enough depth (and young Portuguese talent) to field a competitive side in this competition.

I would love to see JJ use this 11:


This could also be the perfect opportunity to give the gem of our youth academy, Bernardo Silva, a chance to experience European football. The kid is a true talent who deserves a chance on the first team after some brilliant performances for Benfica's B team and Portugal's U21 side.
1 Monday, 16 December 2013 13:23
Overall Benfica got the easier draw. Should they get past PAOK, they'll face weaker teams. Spurs will be concentrating in league play while getting house in order. I'll take Dnipro, if they advance.

Porto's should have an easy time getting by Eintracht, but will have a very rough go once they advance. Swansea is better than record shows. If Napoli don't slip up in Serie A, they'll keep pushing.

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