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Europa League Preview

Like the Champions League, the Europa League resumes again this week with the round of 32 matches.

The action kicks off on Tuesday with Manchester City FC’s new front man Edin Džeko aiming to help the Group A winners ruin Aris Salonikai’s 40-year unbeaten home record in UEFA competition in the first leg of their tie.

On Thursday, City’s Premier League rivals Liverpool will meet Sparta Prague. One definite boost for Kenny Dalglish’s Group K winners is that Wilfried Bony, who scored five goals in the group stage, left Sparta in January.

Suárez’s fellow Uruguayan and Napoli forward Edinson Cavani will set his sights on prolonging Villarreal’s wait for a maiden success on Italian soil by adding to the five goals he has so far in the competition. But the Yellow Submarine possess potent fire power too, Giuseppe Rossi’s five-goal haul helped them win Group D.

Leading the individual scoring charts is Porto’s Falcao, whose seven strikes contributed to a table-topping Group L campaign. The Colombian international will spearhead the Portuguese Liga pacesetters during their visit to Sevilla in a tantalising all-Iberian affair.

Stuttgart, Bundesliga strugglers yet Group H winner, make the journey to the Estádio da Luz to play Benfica, who will be without centre-half David Luiz after his switch to Chelsea, while Lisbon rivals Sporting Lisbon travel to Glasgow to face Rangers.

The Scottish side are one of eight teams who have transferred from the UEFA Champions League, four of whom have been paired up: Rubin Kazan host Dutch champions FC Twente while fellow Russian Premier League outfit Sparta Moscow are welcomed by Basel.

Russia’s other two representatives, Zenit St Petersburg and CSKA Moscow, not only headed their groups but finished as joint-top scorers – averaging an impressive three goals a game. UEFA Cup winners three years ago, Zenit were the only club with six group victories and will test Young Boys’ fine record at the Stade de Suisse. CSKA, for whom Tomáš Necid and Seydou Doumbia have grabbed a combined nine goals, go to Greece to play PAOK Salonika .

Meanwhile, in an intriguing Low Countries derby, Anderlecht meets Ajax in Brussels, while Eredivisie frontrunners PSV Eindhoven visit their French Ligue 1 counterparts Lille

One place behind Rudi Garcia’s men are Paris Saint-Germain who come up against Belarusian champions FC BATE in Minsk and Bundesliga title chasers Bayern Leverkusen have a tough assignment at Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv.

Finally, Lech Poznań battle it out with Braga for a last-16 place, starting in Poland, while Group E victors Dynamo Kiev meet Beşiktaş in Istanbul.

The return legs take place between 22 and 24 February.