With Dortmund eliminated, the Bundesliga has just two representatives remaining in the Europa League. Both of those sides, impressively, topped their groups and would have been hoping for a good draw this afternoon to aid their chances of progressing in the tournament. Stuttgart rather unfortunately drew Benfica, while Leverkusen got a very favorable draw in the form of Metalist.
Stuttgart v Benfica
I don’t think Stuttgart could have drawn a tougher side. Benfica are loaded with top attacking players and they’re very handy in defense too. They haven’t been as impressive as they usually are this season, but I think it’s only a matter of time before they start getting the results they want. Oscar Cardozo and Fabio Coentrao will be particularly key in attack for Benfica, while Brazilian pair David Luiz and Luisao will marshall the back-line for the Portuguese champions. Stuttgart will need to win pretty handily in Germany if they have any chance of getting out of this one, because Benfica can be electric at home.
Leverkusen v Metalist
This should be a real walk in the park for Leverkusen. They can continue to field a second-string in this tournament and focus more on their Bundesliga title challenge. Hopefully the Europa League throws up a bigger test for Leverkusen in the next round. It’ll be a real disappointment if they lose this one.
Elsewhere, Manchester City drew Aris, Liverpool drew Sparta Prague, Napoli drew Villareal, Sevilla drew Porto, Ajax drew Anderlecht, Twente drew Rubin Kazan, PSV drew Lille, Rangers drew Sporting Lisbon, Lech Poznan drew Braga, Besiktas drew Dynamo Kiev, Basel drew Spartak Moscow, Young Boys drew Zenit St. Petersburg, PAOK drew CSKA Moscow, and BATE Barisov drew PSG.