What awaits Celtic in Europa League last 32 draw?

Celtic and Liverpool fans in 2003
Celtic could face another cross-border clash, with Arsenal and Chelsea two of 15 possible opponents
Europa League last 32 draw
Date: 17 December Time: 12:00 GMT Venue: Nyon, Switzerland
Live on the BBC Sport website

On Monday lunchtime Celtic will find out their opponents for the last 32 of the Europa League.

Despite losing to Salzburg on Thursday, Rosenborg's late equaliser in Leipzig allowed Brendan Rodgers' side to progress as Group B runners-up.

Celtic fell at the last 32 stage last season, succumbing to Zenit St Petersburg.

The Scottish champions, as an unseeded team, will be at home for the first leg on 14 February, with the away tie seven days later.

BBC Sport Scotland takes a look at what could be in store for them.

Who do they want?

At first glance, the draw looks daunting. Four Spanish teams, two from Germany, two English Premier League giants, two from Italy and the side that put them out at this stage last season - Zenit - are all possible opponents.

However, Celtic could walk away from Nyon with a realistic chance of progressing to the last 16.

Villarreal on paper look imposing. They finished top of their Europa League section, which included Rangers. The Spaniards were also unbeaten in the group, posting four clean sheets.

But in two games against Steven Gerrard's side they were unable to get a win, drawing 2-2 at home and 0-0 at Ibrox.

They are also struggling in their domestic league, languishing 17th in La Liga. In comparison, Sevilla and Real Betis - two other possible Spanish opponents - are second and sixth respectively.

Another La Liga side who are faltering this season are Valencia. They sit 14th domestically after drawing 10 of their 16 games and winning just three times.

Bayer Leverkusen lie 11th in the German Bundesliga and are considerably weaker than the RB Leipzig side Celtic beat 2-1; losing 3-0 at the Red Bull Arena three days after that game.

Benfica, much like Celtic, have been the dominant team in Portugal for some time. But after four titles in a row they had to settle for second place last season, while this year they sit third and picked up a disappointing seven points in their Champions League group, with their only wins coming against AEK Athens.

Other than that? Well, it's tough....

Who to avoid

They can't get Salzburg, having already played them in the group stage. Like the Austrians though, Zenit, Genk and Dinamo Zagreb are all top of their domestic leagues. Dinamo Kiev sit second in the Ukrainian League.

Eintracht Frankfurt are fifth in the Bundesliga, but just four points off second place.

Then there are the teams who drop down from the Champions League. Napoli were squeezed out in a so-called group of death with Liverpool and Paris St-Germain. They are also second in Serie A and will be among the favourites to lift the Europa League.

Internazionale are in a similar situation, having lost out in a tough group that involved Barcelona and Tottenham. Although a fixture with I Nerazzurri would bring back memories of the 1967 European Cup final, the Italians spent big in summer and manager Luciano Spalletti is under pressure to deliver some sort of success.

Celtic's record against English sides in Europe
Celtic's record against English sides in Europe

Battle of Britain

Two more teams they could face are English pair Arsenal and Chelsea.

Celtic have generally fared well when they have crossed the border. In recent years they have drawn home and away with Manchester City, while since the turn of the century they have posted a win and a draw over Manchester United and knocked both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers out of Europe.

A raucous Celtic Park crowd would relish a crack at an English team, however the London pair are both dangerous prospects.

Arsenal, who defeated Celtic home and away in the Champions League play-offs in 2009-10, have a manager who knows all about winning the Europa League. Unai Emery won three in a row with Sevilla, and the Gunners cruised through their group undefeated, only dropping points in one game - a draw with Sporting CP.

Chelsea also made short work of their group, although BATE Borisov, Mol Vidi and PAOK did not pose the most terrifying of challenges.

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport