Chelsea and Liverpool could face Atletico Madrid in Europa League last 32
Last Updated: December 20, 2012 3:07pm
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Chelsea and Liverpool will be hoping to avoid Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan when the draw for the last 32 of the Europa League is made in Switzerland on Thursday.
The Spanish and Italian sides could only finish runners-up in their groups and so are among the 16 unseeded teams for the first knockout stage.
Chelsea and Liverpool are two of the 16 seeded sides after dropping down from the Champions League and winning Group A respectively, and will also be wary of drawing Ajax and Bayer Leverkusen.
Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are both unseeded and will consequently hope to avoid the likes of seeds Benfica and Lyon.
There is no chance of all-English ties in the last 32, as teams from the same associations and groups cannot be paired together, but they could meet in the last 16, the draw for which will also be held in Nyon.
The seeds are made up of the 12 Europa League group winners and the four sides dropping down from the Champions League with the best records in this season's competition.
However, the group of unseeded teams, made up of group runners-up and "weaker" four Champions League drop-outs, is arguably stronger.
Atletico, Inter and Leverkusen all sit second in their domestic leagues, while Ajax are in the thick of their own title battle and showed quality as they finished third in a Champions League group also containing the champions of Spain, Germany and England.
For Tottenham and Newcastle, long trips appear distinctly possible, with seven of the 13 teams they are eligible to face being from Eastern Europe or Turkey.
All unseeded teams will play at home in the first leg of the last 32.
There will be no seeds for the last 16, with the ties being decided on a "Winner Match 3 v Winner Match 11" basis.
Last-32 ties will take place on February 14 and 21, with last-16 matches following on March 7 and 14.
Round of 32 draw
Liverpool, Viktoria Plzeò, Fenerbahçe, Girondins de Bordeaux, Steaua Bucureºti, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Genk, Rubin Kazan, Lyon, Lazio, Metalist Kharkiv, Hannover 96, Chelsea, CFR Cluj, Olympiacos, Benfica.
Anzhi Makhachkala, Atlético de Madrid, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Newcastle United, VfB Stuttgart, Napoli, FC Basel, Internazionale Milano, Sparta Prague, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Levante, Dynamo Kyiv, Zenit St Petersburg, Ajax, BATE Borisov.