Betfred Sport

Battle of Britain affair between Hearts and Liverpool

For the second successive year, there is a Battle of Britain in the playoff round of the UEFA Europa League.

Hearts will face Liverpool a year after they met Tottenham at exactly the same stage.

Brendan Rodgers side came through against FC Gomel of Belarus in their qualifying tie, winning 3-0 at Anfield to seal a comfortable 4-0 aggregate victory.

The Scottish side will be looking to improve on their showing last season, which saw Tottenham thrash them 5-0 at Tynecastle, in the first leg.

The first leg will be played in Scotland on August 23, with the second leg scheduled for August 30 at Anfield.

Greek adventure for Magpies

Newcastle return to European competition for the first time in five years and the Magpies will face Greek side, Atromitos, with the first leg in Greece.

Alan Pardew will be relieved to have missed the rich Russian club Anzhi, which were in the unseeded pot.

The Sports Direct Arena fans will be confident of progression against a side that finished fourth in the Greek league last term.

After their Champions League exit to Panathinaikos, Motherwell have been handed a daunting tie of their own.

They will face La Liga side Levante, which surprised many in finishing in a top six position last season.

Buraspor v FC Twente is the standout

Elsewhere in the draw, Steve McClaren has been handed a very tough assignment, as his FC Twente side face two testing games with former Turkish champions, Buraspor.

After a near embarrassing exit to Hadjuk Split on Thursday night, Inter Milan will be hoping for a safer passage against FC Vaslui of Romania.

Anzhi will meet AZ Alkmaar, last season’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao have two ties with the side that lost to Celtic in Champions League qualification, HJK Helsinki, while Slovan Liberec will meet Dnipro, now managed by ex-Tottenham failure, Juande Ramos.

The winners will join the likes of defending holders Atletico Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli in the group stages.

The 2013 UEFA Europa League final will be played in the Amsterdam ArenA on May 15, 2013.

UEFA Europa League playoff round draw

All ties scheduled to be played on Thursday, August 23 and Thursday, August 30

Anzhi v AZ Alkmaar

APOEL Nicosia v Nefcti

Atromitos v Newcastle United

Tromso v Partizan Belgrade

FC Vaslui v Inter Milan

Hearts v Liverpool

Athletic Bilbao v HJK Helsinki

Maritimo v FC Dila Gori or Anorthosis Famagusta

Molde FK v Heerenveen

Debrecen v Club Brugge

Sheriff Tiraspol v Marseille

Trabzonspor v Videoton

FC Midtjylland v Young Boys

Slask Wroclaw v Hannover 96

Dinamo Bucharest v Metalist Kharkiv

AC Horsens v Sporting Lisbon

Hapoel Tel-Aviv v F91 Dudelange

Feyenoord v Sparta Prague

Motherwell v Levante

Crvena Zvezda v Bordeaux

Lokeren v Viktoria Plzen

Lazio v ND Mura

AIK Solna v CSKA Moscow

Legia Warsaw v Rosenborg

Buraspor v FC Twente

Steaua Bucharest v Ekranas

Slovan Liberec v Dnipro

VFB Stuttgart v Dinamo Moscow

PAOK Salonika v Rapid Vienna

FC Luzern v KRC Genk

FK Zeta v PSV Eindhoven

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

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