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Europa League group stage draw announced

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The Europa League has unfairly been given a negative reputation over the last few years but this season there are some real giants competing.

And one day after watching the group stages of Europe's premier competition, the Champions League, get drawn, Manchester United, Ajax, Roma and 45 other teams have all found out who they will be facing in this year's tournament.

You can scroll down to see the full draw but there are certainly a few matchups which stand out above the rest.

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Jose Mourinho's Man United are participating in the group stages for the first time but will feel excited at the prospect of playing Robin van Persie's Fenerbahce, Feyenoord and Zorya Luhansk from Ukraine.

The Premier League's other representative, Southampton, automatically qualified for the competition after finishing sixth last year.

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The Saints were seeded in Pot 3 so were always likely to be dealt a tough draw and it has proven to be the case as they will face Frank de Boer's Inter Milan, Sparta Prague and Hapoel Beer-Sheva in Group K.

Dundalk FC from the League of Ireland Premier Division were drawn against Zenit St Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel-Aviv in their first appearance in the group stage of a major European tournament.

Full draw:

Group A:

Manchester United
Fenerbahce
Feyenoord
Zorya Luhansk

Group B:

Olympiakos
Apoel FC
Young Boys
Astana

Group C:

Anderlecht
Saint Etienne
Mainz
Qabala

Group D:

Zenit St Petersburg
AZ Alkmaar
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dundalk

Group E:

Viktoria Plzen
AS Roma
Austria Wien
Astra Giurgiu

Group F:

Athletic Bilbao
KRC Genk
Rapid Wien
Sassuolo

Group G:

Ajax
Standard Liege
Celta Vigo
Panathinaikos

Group H:

Shakhtar Donetsk
Braga
Gent
Konyaspor

Group I:

Schalke
FC Salzburg
Krasnodar
Nice

Group J:

Fiorentina
PAOK
Slovan Liberec
Qarabag

Group K:

Internazionale
Sparta Prague
Southampton
Hapoel Beer-Sheva

Group L:

Villareal
Steaua Bucharest
Zurich
Osmanlispor

Two teams from each group qualify for the round of 32 and will be joined by the teams who finish third in their respective Champions League group.

The Europa League kicks off on September 15, with the final fixture of the group stage played on December 8.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
UEFA Champions League
Europa League
Football
Premier League
Southampton

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