Leverkusen drew the short straw in becoming the only Bundesliga side to be pitted against a team who had previously competed in the Champions League. Benfica will provide stern opposition, but sporting director Rudi Völler was not about to write off his side's chances. "Chelsea would have been a real belter, but Benfica are not far behind them. this is a real heavyweight tie, a duel on an even playing field, but we will not be without our chances. With a good set-up and good form we definitely have a very good chance to progress."
Klose and Eto'o
Elsewhere, Bundesliga legend Miroslav Klose will return to Germany after Borussia Mönchengladbach drew Italian side S.S. Lazio and their striker Miroslav Klose. "They're attractive opponents, a nice pair and a nice challenge that we'll accept," stated the club's vice-president Rainer Bonhof. "We've got an opportunity to reach the next round. To play in the eternal city in February will be a delight. We won in Marseille and at Fenerbahce, which was a great advertisement for Borussia, and therefore we'll be well prepared."
Hannover will face a relatively unknown prospect in the form of Russian champions Anji Makhachkala, who finished second in their group despite beating eventual winners Liverpool FC on home soil. "I'm very pragmatic in these situations and we'd have accepted any draw," declared Reds president Martin Kind. "Anji are an attractive Russian club, but it might help us that we get to travel to Moscow first. We have to be realistic though, this is a very successful club with super players such as Samuel Eto'o."
Sweet Belgian chocolate
The luck of the draw was certainly on Stuttgart's side, though they'd be unwise to underestimate Genk, who aquitted themselves well against Bayer, Chelsea and Valencia in the previous campaign. "We can be satisifed, they're an attractive opponent, who were playing in the Champions League last season," said sporting director Fredi Bobic. "It won't be easy, but we're not unhappy because this is a manageable draw."
Here's a round-up of all the Europa League draw:
Round of 32:
FC BATE Borisov vs. Fenerbahce SK
FC Internazionale Milano vs. CFR 1907 Cluj
Levante UD vs. Olympiacos FC
FC Zenit St Petersburg vs. Liverpool FC
Dynamo Kyiv vs. FC Girondins de Bordeaux
Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. SL Benfica
Newcastle United vs. FC Metalist Kharkiv
VfB Stuttgart vs. KRC Genk
Club Atletico de Madrid vs. FC Rubin Kazan
AFC Ajax vs. FC Steaua Bucuresti
FC Basel 1893 vs. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
FC Anji Makhachkala vs. Hannover 96
AC Sparta Praha vs. Chelsea FC
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. S.S. Lazio
Tottenham Hotspur FC vs. Olympique Lyonnais
SSC Napoli vs. FC Viktoria Plzen
Round of 16:
Napoli or Viktoria Plzen vs. BATE Borisov or Fenerbahce
Bayer 04 Leverkusen or Benfica vs. Dynamo Kyiv or Bordeaux
Anji Makhachkala or Hannover 96 vs. Newcastle or Metalist Kharkiv
VfB Stuttgart or Genk vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach or SS Lazio
Tottenham or Lyon vs. Inter Milan or Cluj
Levante or Olympiakos vs. Atletico Madrid or Rubin Kazan
Basel or Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk vs. Zenit St Petersburg or Liverpool
Ajax or Steaua Bucharest vs. Sparta Prague or Chelsea
14:48 That concludes today's live coverage of the draw. Thanks for joining us in wishing the four Bundesliga representatives the very best of luck in the knockout stages!
14:41 And finally Ajax or Steaua Bucharest will face either Sparta Prague or Chelsea.
14:41 Basel or Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk have been pitted against the winner of Zenit's match with Liverpool.
14:40 Meanwhile, Levante or Olympiacos will take on the winner of Atletico Madrid and Rubin Kazan.
14:40 Tottenham or Lyon will face either Inter or Cluj.
14:39VfB Stuttgart or Genk will be pitted against either Borussia Mönchengladbach or Lazio.
14:38 Anji Makhachkala or Hannover 96 will face Newcastle or Metalist Kharkiv.
14:37Bayer Leverkusen or Benfica will face either Dynamo Kyiv or Bordeaux.
14:36 Napoli or Viktoria Plzen will play against the winner of BATE Borisov's tie against Fenerbahce.
14:36 Teams from the same country can now be drawn against one another, but the Bundesliga sides will be hoping to avoid each other.
14:35 Which leaves Napoli to face Viktoria Plzen as the Round of 32 is completed. Now we await the draw for the Round of 16.
14:34 Tottenham are handed a tricky tie as they're pitted against Olympique Lyonnais.
14:33Borussia Mönchengladbach, who won this competition in 1975 and 1979, only have one team they can face as they're drawn against Lazio.
14:32 Sparta Prague are drawn against last year's Champions League winners Chelsea.
14:30 Anji Makhachkala are drawn in a mouth-watering tie with Hannover 96, who were knocked out last season by the eventual winners Atletico Madrid.
14:28 Thorsten Fink's former side Basel have been handed a tough tie against the top scoring team from the group stages Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
14:27 Ajax, who are aiming to reach the final in their home stadium, will first have to navigate their way past Steaua Bucharest.
14:26 Reigning champions Atletico Madrid will have a fairly long trip on their hands as they're drawn against Rubin Kazan.
14:25 Another German side emerges as VfB Stuttgart are handed a winnable tie against Belgian side Genk, who are making their debut in the Round of 32.
14:24 Newcastle United are next out as former striker Kluivert pits them against Metalist Kharkiv.
14:23Bayer 04 Leverkusen, winners in 1988, are the first Bundesliga side to be drawn and Sami Hyypiä and Co. will have to take on former European greats Benfica.
14:22 Dynamo Kyiv, who knocked Gladbach out of the Champions League earlier this season, have been handed a tough tie against French side Bordeaux.
14:20 We're still waiting on our first German side to be drawn as former Europa League winners Zenit St. Petersburg emerge from the bowl. The current Russian champions are drawn against Liverpool.
14:19 Levante, making their debut in the Round of 32 and who finished behind Hannover in Group L, are pitted against Olympiacos.
14:18...against Romanian side Cluj.
14:17 There will be some teams shaking in their boots as Inter Milan, three times UEFA Cup winners, are drawn...
14:16 BATE Borisov, who were in FC Bayern's group in the Champions League, are the first team out and they will face Fenerbahce.
14:14 Alvaro Dominguez of Borussia Mönchengladbach tweets: @Adominguez15: #UEL ;-) lets go #Gladbach
14:13 We're almost ready to get the ball rolling, but there are a few last-minute formalities to take care of.
14:11 Kluivert on the Amsterdam ArenA: "It's a great stadium and it's fantastic for Ajax to host the final."
14:09 Gianni Infantino is now welcoming 2013 UEFA Europa League final ambassador Patrick Kluivert to the stage. He scored the winning goal when Ajax won the Champions League in 1995.
14:07 Don't forget there are eight teams in this draw that have dropped down from the Champions League, including last year's title winners Chelsea. Dynamo Kyiv, Zenit St Petersburg, Ajax, BATE Borisov, Cluj, Olympiacos and Benfica complete the list after they all finished third in their respective groups.
14:05 While that's happening tweet us at @Bundesliga_GOAL to give us your thoughts on who you would like to see the four Germans teams drawn against.
14:03 UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has said his piece as we're treated to highlights from the group stages, which included Hiroshi Sakai's stunning effort for Stuttgart.
13:59 Borussia Mönchengladbach recovered well from a poor start to the group stages as they clinched their place on the back of Juan Arango's heroics. With eleven goals to their name, they scored the most goals of any side in Group B and only a loss to group winners Fenerbahce blemished their record. With the likes of Luuk de Jong set to return from injury after the winter break, Gladbach are certainly a side to reckon with in the Europa League.
13:57 Elsewhere, VfB Stuttgart scraped through into the Round of 32 after riding their luck somewhat in Group E. Bruno Labbadia's men were far from convincing against difficult opposition, only picking up two points on home soil. The Stuttgart head coach will no doubt be demanding a defensive improvement over the winter break, which will be essential to their chances of progressing further in this tournament.
13:55 In Group K, Bayer 04 Leverkusen finished level on points with Metalist Kharkiv, but an inferior head-to-head record against the Ukrainian side saw them finish second in the group. Der Werkself handed rare first-team appearances to some of their younger players towards the end of the group stages, but only conceded twice in six matches. Inspired no doubt by head coach Sami Hyypiä, Bayer's defensive resiliency will certainly serve them well in the knockout stages of the competition.
13:54 Hannover 96 were the only Bundesliga side to remain undefeated during the group stages as they finished above Levante in Group L. The Reds' form in Europe has been their saving grace at times this season, but they're hopeful of reaching the latter stages of the competition for the second successive season.
13:53 The draw for the Round of 16 will also be made immediately after the Round of 32 ties have been announced.
13:51 However, while there are no easy ties at this stage of the Europa League, a look at the two groups of teams and you could argue that not being seeded has its advantages.
13:49 Unfortunately only Hannover 96 have been seeded for the draw, meaning that Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfB Stuttgart and Bayer 04 Leverkusen could be handed some difficult ties
13:47 There are 16 different countries represented in this draw, but Germany boast the most teams alongside England, as both have four teams ready to learn their fate.
13:45 Hello and welcome to bundesliga.com's LIVE coverage of the UEFA Europa League draw in Nyon, where four Bundesliga sides are ready to find out who they will be up against in the knockout stages of the competition.
We'll have updates every couple of minutes, so keep refreshing this page using the button above to keep on top of all the latest goings on from the UEFA headquarters...
Seeded teams: Liverpool, Viktoria Plzen, Fenerbahce, Girondins de Bordeaux, Steaua Bucharest, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Genk, Rubin Kazan, Olympique Lyonnais, Lazio, Metalist Kharkiv, Hannover 96, Chelsea, Cluj, Olympiacos, Benfica.
Unseeded teams: Anji, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Newcastle United, VfB Stuttgart, Napoli, Basel, Inter Milan, Sparta Prague, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Levante, Dynamo Kyiv, Zenit St Petersburg, Ajax, BATE Borisov.
The final of the 2012/13 Europa League will be played at the Amsterdam ArenA on 15 May next year.