UEFA Europa League Preview: Athletic Bilbao travel to Zilina, Odd host Dortmund
Supercopa de Espana winners Athletic Bilbao return to UEFA Europa League action in their play-off first leg clash with Zilina.
Athletic Bilbao will have to cut their Supercopa de Espana celebrations short as they return to competitive action against Zilina in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
Ernesto Valverde's side denied Barcelona's sextuple hopes as Monday's 1-1 draw at Camp Nou rounded off a 5-1 aggregate triumph – securing the Basque club's first trophy in 31 years.
While that kind of achievement would often spark lengthy celebrations, they will need to be curtailed at San Mames as they travel to Slovakia for the first leg of their play-off clash.
Morale will also be high in the Borussia Dortmund squad ahead of their first-leg meeting with Odd, Thomas Tuchel's side arriving in Norway off the back of a 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
After their disappointing campaign last season, the signs are already looking brighter for Dortmund, and they will hope to have enough firepower to overcome Odd - who have already played six games in this season's competition.
Southampton's first European adventure in 12 years continues with the visit of Midtjylland to St Mary's Stadium, while Fenerbahce's array of superstars will hope to avoid a repeat of their Champions League disappointment.
Despite adding Robin van Persie and Nani to their squad during the close-season, the Turkish side were knocked out of the third round by Shakhtar Donetsk, dropping them into a Europa League tie with Atromitos.
Former European Cup winners Ajax and Steaua Bucharest suffered a similar fate to Fener and will look to keep their European dreams alive with ties against Rosenborg and Jablonec respectively – Steaua looking for a joint record fifth win in the play-offs.
Czech trio Sparta Prague, Slovan Liberec and Viktoria Plzen face Thun, Hajduk Split and Vojvodina respectively, while Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu host AZ.
Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg make the trip to Belarus to face Dinamo Minsk, while Belenenses are the next side in front of European debutants Rheindorf Altach.
The two remaining Azerbaijan representatives Qabala and Qarabag both have tough play-off ties ahead of them, against Young Boys and Panathinaikos respectively.
HJK travel to Krasnodar, Legia Warsaw meet Zorya of Ukraine, Lech Poznan welcome Videton and Rubin Kazan face a trip to Macedonia against Rabotnicki.
Brondby travel to PAOK, Molde host Standard Liege and Milsami continue their European adventure against Ligue 1's Saint-Etienne, the Moldovans another side to slip into the Europa League after Champions League defeat.
The final tie of the round sees Kairat Almaty face Bordeaux, with the Kazakh side the first to make the 5974-kilometre trip – the furthest distance travelled in the competition.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get FourFourTwo Newsletter
The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.
By Tom Hancock
By Tom Hancock
By Ben Hayward