NYON, Switzerland: Jurgen Klopp will head back to Dortmund for the Europa League quarterfinals after his Liverpool side were drawn with his former club Borussia on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Liverpool, who won the UEFA Cup, the forerunner to the Europa League, in 1973, 1976 and 2001, will travel to Germany for the first leg on April 7 with the return a week later at Anfield.
Their last UEFA Cup triumph in 2001 ironically came at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, where they beat Alaves 5-4 with a golden goal in extra time.
Klopp, who left Germany in July 2015, led Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final, one of the highlights of his seven years in charge of the Bundesliga club alongside a domestic double in 2012.
“I am really happy with the draw. Yesterday I said why should I wish [to get]the strongest team in the tournament, but obviously if you want to win the Europa League, and when you are in the quarter-final, then you have to beat the strongest teams,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website liverpoolfc.com.
“It is better to play against them in two games than in only one game. I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am really happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and a great city.”
Dortmund reached the last eight by brushing aside another Premier League outfit in Tottenham Hotspur, winning 5-1 on aggregate.
“It is very exciting to see Kloppo again,” said Dortmund defender Neven Subotic.
“I trained with him for nine years and he has done very well there—he has changed the team—and I’m obviously excited to play against his new team. It’s definitely going to be nice to see him again.”
Four-time winners Sevilla, seeking a third Europa League title in three years, face a Spanish derby against Athletic Bilbao, the clubs placed fifth and sixth in La Liga meeting for the first time in Europe.
“I’m not happy with the draw because we wanted to avoid a Spanish side,” said Sevilla technical director Monchi.
“We’re going to play a real in-form side. We will have to fight all the way to progress. Both sides are fighting for the same thing in the league and the tie will be decided by little details.”
The draw was rounded off with 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk facing 2011 runners-up Sporting Praga of Portugal while Villarreal are to take on Sparta Prague, the latter two clubs having never played each other before.
“We have avoided the Spanish sides, which is something we wanted to do,” admitted Marcos Senna, a former Villarreal player who was representing the club at the draw.
“We have to admit we’re happy with the draw. We have played against two very strong sides [Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen] to get here. There are no easy opponents and the fact our opponents have got to this stage shows their strength.”