Europa League holders Atletico given nice group, unlike Sevilla

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Reigning Europa League champions Atletico Madrid have been handed one of the easier assignments in the group stages of this year’s tournament as they go in search of back-to-back victories.

Atletico defeated Fulham in the final last season and have been placed in Group B alongside Bayern Leverkusen, Norwegian champions Rosenberg and little-known Greek outfit Aris.

The draw was not so kind to their Spanish counterparts Sevilla, as they have been placed in what will arguably be considered to be the ‘Group of Death’.

Sevilla, who are 14/1 to win the Europa League, landed the tournament in its former guise of the UEFA Cup in successive years in 2006 and 2007 and will have to do it the hard way to repeat this success as they face Paris St. Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Ukrainian side Karpaty Lviv in Group J.

Four Spanish teams are still in the tournament in total, with 16/1 shots Villarreal preparing to challenge for the two qualification places in Group G with Club Brugge of Belgium, Dinamo Zagreb and PAOK Salonika.

Getafe, available at 40/1 to win the tournament, are the final Spaniards and they may be in for a tough ride with Stuttgart, Young Boys, who were knocked out of Champions League qualifying by Tottenham, and Odense.

Another recent winner, Zenit St. Petersburg in 2008, will play Anderlecht, AEK Athens and Hajduk Split in Group G, while CSKA Moscow have been placed in Group F alongside Palermo, Sparta Prague and tournament rank outsiders at 500/1 Lausanne.

Rapid Vienna’s reward for eliminating Aston Villa from the final Europa League qualifying round is a spot in Group L with 2003 champions Porto, Besiktas and CSKA Sofia.

Atletico Madrid are 12/1 to win the Europa League and are favourites outside of the two English teams. See the whole Europa League winners market.

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