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More Euro intrigue ahead for City

europa league trophy

europa league trophy

City will find out what the next step of this season's European journey will be this Friday, and there are some very familiar names lying in wait.

The draw for the next two knock-out rounds of the Europa League will be made in Nyon, Switzerland, at 13.00 CET following the conclusion of the group stage in midweek. The Blues' third place in their Champions League group sees them seeded for the Europa League, as UEFA's web site says:

"City, United, Olympiacos and Valencia, having had the best records, will be seeded alongside the 12 UEFA Europa League group winners. Ajax, Porto, Trabzonspor and Plzeň will be placed with the runners-up. The only restriction in the round of 32 for the teams transferring is that they cannot play a club from their own association in the ties on 16 and 23 February. The round of 16, drawn at the same time, has no restrictions."

We cannot face Manchester United or any of the other top seeded teams in the round of 32, but that changes for the round of 16 if we get there. The final will take place at the National Stadium in Bucharest on 9 May 2012.

Stoke City, who qualified by making it to last season's FA Cup final, could be another top seed if they win their group and will be a tough proposition for whoever plays them, especially on home soil.

Spurs need a big win and other results to go in their favour to qualify, and Birmingham City also need a favourable combination to proceed. A win would ensure that Fulham would go through from Group K in second place behind winners FC Twente.

A win for Celtic in Italy would see them qualify in second place on a better head-to-head record than Udinese Calcio. Definitely through are Schalke 04, who lost 2-0 to City in Gelsenkirchen when Mark Hughes' side turned in a fine performance in the UEFA Cup late in 2008.

Full list of teams qualified from the Europa League groups:

PAOK FC, Standard Liège*, Hannover 96, PSV Eindhoven*, Legia Warsaw, Sporting Clube de Portugal*, Stoke City, Athletic Bilbao*, FC Metalist Kharkiv*, SC Braga, Atlético Madrid, FC Schalke 04*, FC Twente*, RSC Anderlecht, FC Lokomotiv Moskow.

*Group winners

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