Newcastle were drawn against FC Metalist in the round of the last 32 of the Europa League, when the draw was made in Nyon, Switzerland this afternoon.
First leg on February 14th at St. James Park – and the second leg away on February 21st.
FC Metalist play in the city of Kharkiv (founded in 1654), which is in the north-east corner of the Ukraine, and they play at the 40,000 capacity multi-use Metalist Stadium, which was built in 1926 and was recently reconstructed to its current capacity, in order to host Euro 2012 football.
The club finished third top of the Ukrainian Premier League last season, and came out top of Group K with a 100 per cent home record, and were tied on 13 points with German club Bayer 04 Leverkusen. They had a one goal inferior goal difference than Leverkusen but finished top because they took four points out of the German club in their two group games.
They drew 0-0 in Germany and then won 2-0 at home in the Ukraine, and they seem to have an excellent defense – conceding only three goals in their six group games.
They won four games and lost only once at Rapid Wien 1-0.
If we do get through the round, then we will face winner of the tie between Hannover 96 of Germany and Anji Makhachkala of Russia, and those games will be played on on 7th and 14th March – and if we get through that one we’re in the quarter-finnls.
We have to stand a reasonable chance of making it through to the last 16 – although Metalist seem like a very good side, but we hope most of all that by the time these games are played we are not in any relegation trouble.
Then we could even enjoy watching the games.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org