PSV to meet Arsenal in Europa League, Feyenoord draws Lazio
PSV will compete against Arsenal in the group stage of the Europa League, with the English club making its return to European football after missing out last year. During the group stage lottery on Friday, Feyenoord was linked to Lazio from Rome, a city where Feyenoord fans were involved in disturbances in the past. Dutch coach Erik Ten Hag's Manchester United was assigned to a group with Real Sociedad.
Aside from Arsenal, which was the 2019 Europa League runner-up, PSV will also compete against FK Bodø/Glimt from Norway and the Swiss club FC Zurich. Denmark's FC Midtjylland and SK Sturm Graz from Austria were named the other two opponents in the group with Feyenoord and Lazio.
The Lazio - Feyenoord match is disconcerting because the Rotterdam fans caused a great deal of destruction to the Italian city in 2015. This happened when Feyenoord took on AS Roma. The behavior of the Dutch fans caused significant anger and condemnation from residents of Rome and the city's political figures.
PSV wound up in the Europa League after losing to Scottish club Rangers FC in the Champions League preliminary play-offs on Wednesday. Feyenoord qualified directly for the group stage of the Europa League.
Manchester United was matched up with Real Sociedad from Spain, FC Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova and Omonia Nicosia from Cyprus. United finished sixth in the Premier League last season. A place in the top four was required to participate in the Champions League. In 2017, United won the Europa League by defeating Ajax. Manchester United was also the runner-up in 2021, losing to the stronger Villarreal.
AS Roma, where Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum plays, will meet Bulgaria's Loedogorets, the Spanish side Betis, and HJK Helsinki from Finland. Wijnaldum will not likely be available before January due to a fractured Tibia.
The first round of the Europa League will take place on Thursday 8 September. The last group matches will be played on 3 November.
Feyenoord is not allowed to bring supporters with them to their first away game. A portion of De Kuip must also remain empty during the first home match in the group stage of the European tournament. This concerns the north stand, where the most fanatical supporters are seated. The UEFA disciplinary committee punished Feyenoord for disturbances during both matches with Olympique Marseille in the semifinals of the Conference League in April and May of this year.
The Europa League final will be played next year in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Reporting by ANP