Europa: Spanish open against Israelis

Atletico Madrid begin their Europa League campaign away to Hapoel Tel-Aviv, whilst Athletic Bilbao host fellow Israelis Kiryat Shmona.

The draw for the Europa League group stages was made earlier today in Monaco, and handed holders Atletico a tricky test away against the Red Demons in their opening match. They then host Viktoria Plzen, before a home and away double-header against Academica.

Marcelo Bielsa's side, who were beaten 3-0 by Atletico in last year's final, are at home to current Israeli champions Kiryat before travelling to the Czech Republic to face Sparta Prague on matchday two. Their toughest test though, will undoubtedly be a trip to the Stade Gerland, where they face Lyon on October 25.

European new boys Levante have also been given a tough selection of matches, hosting Helsingborgs and travelling to Hannover before facing Twente home and away.

Europa League selected group stage schedule

Group B

Hapoel v Atletico – Thursday September 20

Atletico v Viktoria Plzen – Thursday October 4

Atletico v Academica – Thursday October 25

Academica v Atletico – Thursdy November 8

Atletico v Hapoel – Thursday November 22

Viktoria Plzen v Atletico – Thursday December 6

Group I

Athletic v Kiryat Shmona – Thursday September 20

Sparta Prague v Athletic – Thursday October 4

Lyon v Athletic v Thursday October 25

Athletic v Lyon v Thursday November 8

Kiryat Shmona v Athletic – Thursday November 22

Athletic v Sparta Prague – Thursday December 6

Group L

Levante v Helsingborgs – Thursday September 20

Hannover v Levante – Thursday October 4

Levante v Twente – Thursday October 25

Twente v Levante – Thursday November 8

Helsingborgs v Levante – Thursday November 22

Levante v Hannover – Thursday December 6