Battle of Britain affair between Hearts and Liverpool
For the second successive year, there is a Battle of Britain in the playoff round of the UEFA Europa League.
Hearts will face Liverpool a year after they met Tottenham at exactly the same stage.
Brendan Rodgers side came through against FC Gomel of Belarus in their qualifying tie, winning 3-0 at Anfield to seal a comfortable 4-0 aggregate victory.
The Scottish side will be looking to improve on their showing last season, which saw Tottenham thrash them 5-0 at Tynecastle, in the first leg.
The first leg will be played in Scotland on August 23, with the second leg scheduled for August 30 at Anfield.
Greek adventure for Magpies
Newcastle return to European competition for the first time in five years and the Magpies will face Greek side, Atromitos, with the first leg in Greece.
Alan Pardew will be relieved to have missed the rich Russian club Anzhi, which were in the unseeded pot.
The Sports Direct Arena fans will be confident of progression against a side that finished fourth in the Greek league last term.
After their Champions League exit to Panathinaikos, Motherwell have been handed a daunting tie of their own.
They will face La Liga side Levante, which surprised many in finishing in a top six position last season.
Buraspor v FC Twente is the standout
Elsewhere in the draw, Steve McClaren has been handed a very tough assignment, as his FC Twente side face two testing games with former Turkish champions, Buraspor.
After a near embarrassing exit to Hadjuk Split on Thursday night, Inter Milan will be hoping for a safer passage against FC Vaslui of Romania.
Anzhi will meet AZ Alkmaar, last season’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao have two ties with the side that lost to Celtic in Champions League qualification, HJK Helsinki, while Slovan Liberec will meet Dnipro, now managed by ex-Tottenham failure, Juande Ramos.
The winners will join the likes of defending holders Atletico Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli in the group stages.
The 2013 UEFA Europa League final will be played in the Amsterdam ArenA on May 15, 2013.
UEFA Europa League playoff round draw
All ties scheduled to be played on Thursday, August 23 and Thursday, August 30
Anzhi v AZ Alkmaar
APOEL Nicosia v Nefcti
Atromitos v Newcastle United
Tromso v Partizan Belgrade
FC Vaslui v Inter Milan
Hearts v Liverpool
Athletic Bilbao v HJK Helsinki
Maritimo v FC Dila Gori or Anorthosis Famagusta
Molde FK v Heerenveen
Debrecen v Club Brugge
Sheriff Tiraspol v Marseille
Trabzonspor v Videoton
FC Midtjylland v Young Boys
Slask Wroclaw v Hannover 96
Dinamo Bucharest v Metalist Kharkiv
AC Horsens v Sporting Lisbon
Hapoel Tel-Aviv v F91 Dudelange
Feyenoord v Sparta Prague
Motherwell v Levante
Crvena Zvezda v Bordeaux
Lokeren v Viktoria Plzen
Lazio v ND Mura
AIK Solna v CSKA Moscow
Legia Warsaw v Rosenborg
Buraspor v FC Twente
Steaua Bucharest v Ekranas
Slovan Liberec v Dnipro
VFB Stuttgart v Dinamo Moscow
PAOK Salonika v Rapid Vienna
FC Luzern v KRC Genk
FK Zeta v PSV Eindhoven
By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88
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