Monaco - Bundesliga trio Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04 and FC Augsburg have all been given some stern tests in the group stages of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League.
Dortmund will have to negotiate a home and away clash against Greek side PAOK FC in their group, while Schalke are in a pool with AC Sparta Praha. Augsburg, in Europe for the first time in their history, can look forward to taking on the likes of Athletic Club and AZ Alkmaar.
Groups involving Bundesliga sides:
Group C: Borussia Dortmund/PAOK FC/Kuban Krasnodar FC/Gabala FK
Group K: FC Schalke 04/APOEL FC/AC Sparta Praha/Asteras Tripolis FC
Group L: Athletic Club/AZ Alkmaar/FC Augsburg/FK Partizan
Höwedes: 'We're favourites'
Schalke skipper Benedikt Höwedes reacted with excitement to the draw and, while insisting the Royal Blues will take none of their opponents lightly, believes his side should have no trouble reaching the knockout stages. "They’re some interesting opponents, ones we’re looking forward to facing," he told schalke04.de.
"I’ve played Nicosia once, in 2008, and I still remember a few things from that game. Although we shouldn’t underestimate any team, I think we’re going into the group as favourites and we want to confirm that role. We want to give the best account of ourselves in the competition."
Meanwhile, BVB's Mats Hummels made light of the gruelling distances Dortmund will have to travel for their away matches:
"They're all just up the road, right?!"
Is ja quasi alles um die Ecke.— Mats Hummels (@matshummels) August 28, 2015