The UEFA Europa League fixtures are out. Watching the draw, I was really hoping Dortmund wouldn’t end up with Atlético Madrid or Arsenal, but never did I imagine that we would end up with FC Salzburg. In a time where Dortmund is barely scraping by smaller teams, shown by the dramatic “victory” over Atalanta, a couple of matches against the Red Bull club might be the best thing for the team.
While the Austrian club is considered a weaker opponent, the Black and Yellows can’t afford to overlook the upcoming matches. Red Bull Salzburg advanced 4-3 on aggregate against Real Sociedad, a club that has been known to flex its muscles enough to even give FC Barcelona trouble from time to time in La Liga. They’ve proven themselves to be capable of defeating tough teams.
The nice thing is that all the players I used to know of on Salzburg who would be major threats have either been bought by bigger clubs or shipped off to Leipzig. This squad is not what it used to be a few seasons ago, and although they lead the Austrian Bundesliga by 7 points, that league doesn’t offer much competition, leaving Austrian clubs ill-prepared for European-level football.
Ultimately, I see Dortmund advancing into the quarter finals of the competition, as Salzburg won’t be too difficult of an adversary.
Other Notable Ties
The other Red Bull club drew Zenit St. Petersburg, which is sure to be an interesting tie for our fellow Germans (yes, as much as some of you hate Leipzig, they are a fellow German club, get over it). Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv could be a fun one to watch as well, especially with the form Ciro Immobile has been in lately (furiously crying right now just thinking about him, by the way).
Arsenal vs AC Milan is the one that all the people will be talking about, and indeed it will be interesting. Personally, I would prefer that Milan would advance in that tie, but either way it will be a fun two matches to watch.
Which one is your favorite tie (besides Dortmund, of course, imagine thinking anything else is better)?