The round of 32 in the Europa League did not disappoint and in the end, there are three Bundesliga sides in the last 16 draw.
Bayer Leverkusen’s game against AS Monaco went the distance with Xabi Alonso’s side winning 5-3 on penalties. Meanwhile, Union Berlin produced one of the club’s most memorable moments as they beat four-time European champions Ajax 3-1 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. SC Freiburg had the pleasure of already being in the last 16 draw.
Union Berlin were out of the hat first and will meet Belgium side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise. The pair were in the same group stage together with both sides winning 1-0 in their away match. Both teams have been on a similar rise in recent years. Union Saint-Gilloise won the Belgium top-flight last season having only achieved promotion the year before. It was the club’s first time back in the first division for 49 years. Union Berlin may not have won the Bundesliga (yet), but they’re currently joint-first and achieved high finishes since their promotion in 2019.
Bayer Leverkusen will be quietly pleased with their draw against Ferencvárosi TC from Hungary. This is the furthest the Hungarian side have been in the Europa League and are probably one of the weakest teams on paper. However, it’s certainly a potential banana skin if Leverkusen don’t take them seriously.
SC Freiburg have the trickiest tie of all German teams as they play Italian giants Juventus. The Italian side breezed through their round of 32 tie against FC Nantes winning 4-1 on aggregate. Domestically, it’s been a rollercoaster season for Juventus. Deducted 15 points halfway through the season, the Old Lady is now in 7th position trying to get back into the European places. If they haven’t been deducted any points, they would be joint second right now.
All first-leg matches begin Thursday 9th March.
Union Berlin vs Royale Union Saint-Gilloise
Bayer Leverkusen vs Ferencvárosi TC
Juventus vs SC Freiburg
GGFN | Jamie Allen