By DAN KARELL
Forty-eight clubs learned their European future on Friday when UEFA conducted the Europa League group stage draw.
Three teams with American players are in the group stage, as Tottenham of the English Premier League was drawn in Group K, AZ Alkmaar of the Dutch Eredivisie was drawn in Group L, and Rapid Wien was drawn in Group G.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham will have to endure two trips to Eastern Europe to face Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, currently a shell of their former selves, and FC Sherrif in Moldova. Aron Jóhannsson’s AZ squad may be in one of the more difficult groups, with both PAOK and Shakhter Karagandy having been in the Champions League play-off round and Maccabi Haifa a perennial power in Israel.
Rapid Wien and Terrence Boyd will have to navigate past Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine and KRC Genk of Belgium, two tough European opponents.
Other teams that have entered the Europa League group stage include Spanish sides Valencia (Group A) and Sevilla (Group H), Championship club Wigan Athletic (Group D), and Italian side Lazio (Group J).
Here’s a closer look at the 2013/2014 Europa League group stage draw:
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE DRAW
Group A: Valencia CF (ESP), Swansea City AFC (ENG), FC Kuban Krasnodar (RUS), FC St Gallen (SUI)
Group B: PSV Eindhoven (NED), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), FC Chornomorets Odesa (UKR), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)
Group C: R. Standard de Liège (BEL), FC Salzburg (AUT), IF Elfsborg (SWE), Esbjerg fB (DEN)
Group D: FC Rubin Kazan (RUS), Wigan Athletic FC (ENG), NK Maribor (SVN), SV Zulte Waregem (BEL)
Group E: ACF Fiorentina (ITA), FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR), FC Paços de Ferreira (POR), CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu (ROU)
Group F: FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA), APOEL FC (CYP), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
Group G: FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), KRC Genk (BEL), SK Rapid Wien (AUT), FC Thun (SUI)
Group H: Sevilla FC (ESP), SC Freiburg (GER), Estoril Praia (POR), FC Slovan Liberec (CZE)
Group I: Olympique Lyonnais (FRA), Real Betis Balompié (ESP), Vitória SC (POR), HNK Rijeka (CRO)
Group J: SS Lazio (ITA), Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR), Legia Warszawa (POL), Apollon Limassol FC (CYP)
Group K: Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG), FC Anzhi Makhachkala (RUS), FC Sheriff (MDA), Tromsø IL (NOR)
Group L: AZ Alkmaar (NED), PAOK FC (GRE), Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR), FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ)
What do you think of this draw? Do you like the three club’s chances of getting out of their groups? Which matches are you looking forward to watching?
Share your thoughts below.