Battle of Britain dominates draw

The draw for the UEFA Europa League play-offs today threw up a Battle of Britain clash as Scottish club Heart of Midlothian were paired with Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur.

Hearts sealed their place in this stage of the competition after beating Hungarian club Paksi in new manager Paulo Sergio's first match in charge yesterday.

However, the meeting with last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists represents a huge test for the Edinburgh club. It will be the first-ever competitive meeting between the sides.

"This is a very interesting draw for us, for sure," Sergio told the club's website. "No matter who we were drawn against it was going to be a very difficult tie, but it is a match which I am sure will capture the imagination.

"There is not much travelling involved for the supporters and of course there will be the Scotland-England rivalry as well."

It is a match which I am sure will capture the imagination.
Paulo Sergio, Hearts manager

Elsewhere, 2010 Europa League finalists Fulham were handed a tricky-looking draw against Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who are coached by former Sevilla, Spurs and Real Madrid man Juande Ramos.

Birmingham City will meet Nacional of Portugal, while Stoke City's reward for beating Hajduk Split in their first European tie for 37 years is a meeting with Swiss club FC Thun.

Scottish champions Rangers, who were eliminated from the Champions League third qualifying round by Malmo, will meet another Champions League dropout in Maribor of Slovenia.

Celtic will meet FC Sion of Switzerland, and the surviving Irish representative Shamrock Rovers take on Partizan Belgrade.

Other standout ties include last season's Turkish league runners-up Trabzonspor against Athletic Bilbao of Spain, and Hannover, fourth in last season's Bundesliga, against two-time UEFA Cup winners Sevilla.

UEFA Europa League play-offs draw:

Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) v Panathinaikos (GRE)
Atletico Madrid (ESP) v Vitoria Guimaraes (POR)
Shamrock Rovers (IRL) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)
Metalist Kharkiv (UKR) v Sochaux (FRA)
Besiktas (TUR) v Alania Vladikavkaz (RUS)
Rosenborg (NOR) v AEK Larnaca (CYP)
Vorskla Poltava (UKR) v Dinamo Bucharest (ROM)
Bursaspor (TUR) v Anderlecht (BEL)
Roma (ITA) v Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
Olympiakos Volou (GRE) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Legia Warsaw (POL) v Spartak Moscow (RUS)
FK Ekranas (LTU) v Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR)
PAOK (GRE) v Karpaty Lviv (UKR)
Trabzonspor (TUR) v Athletic Bilbao (ESP)
Heart of Midlothian (SCO) v Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
NK Maribor (SLO) v Rangers (SCO)
Steaua Bucharest (ROM) v CSKA Sofia (BUL)
Nordsjaelland (DEN) v Sporting (POR)
Dnipro (UKR) v Fulham (ENG)
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) v Spartak Trnava (SVK)
FC Sion (SUI) v Celtic (SCO)
Slask Wroclaw (POL) v Rapid Bucharest (ROM)
Litex Lovech (BUL) v Dynamo Kiev (UKR)
Lazio (ITA) v Rabotnicki (MKD)
Nacional (POR) v Birmingham City (ENG)
PSV Eindhoven (NED) v Ried (AUT)
Thun (SUI) v Stoke City (ENG)
Aalesund (NOR) v AZ Alkmaar (NED)
Vaslui (ROM) v Sparta Prague (CZE)
Omonia (CYP) v Salzburg (AUT)
Zestafoni (GEO) v Club Brugge (BEL)
Hannover (GER) v Sevilla (ESP)
HJK (FIN) v Schalke (GER)
Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v AEK (GRE)
Rennes (FRA) v Red Star Belgrade (SRB)
Gaz Metan (ROM) v Austria Vienna (AUT)
Braga (POR) v Young Boys (SUI)
Standard Liege (BEL) v Helsingborg (SWE)