Europa League group stage draw: Tough task for Stoke
Tony Pulis's side will play Dynamo Kiev, Besiktas and Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the group stages of the tournament
Stoke City will face Dynamo Kiev, Besiktas and Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the group stages of the Europa League after the draw was made in Monaco on Friday.
The FA Cup runners-up were placed in a testing Group E in their maiden season in the tournament, with difficult trips away to Eastern Europe and the Middle-East.
Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur, who made the quarter-finals of the Champions League in their first campaign in Europe’s elite club competition, will face a lengthy journey to Russia to face Rubin Kazan, with Greece’s PAOK and Irish minnows Shamrock Rovers completing Group A.
Meanwhile, in Group K Fulham, who earned a spot in the competition via the Fair Play League, will face Eredivisie runners-up FC Twente, Danish side Odense BK and Poland’s Wisla Krakow.
League Cup winners Birmingham City will face last year’s Europa League runners-up, SC Braga, Belgium’s Club Brugge and Slovenian league champions NK Maribor in Group H.
2011 Europa League group stage draw in full:
Group A: Tottenham Hotspur, Rubin Kazan, PAOK, Shamrock Rovers.
Group B: FC Copenhagen, Standard Liege, Hannover, Vorskla Poltava.
Group C: PSV Eindhoven, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Rapid Bucharest, Legia Warsaw.
Group D: Sporting Lisbon, Lazio, FC Zurich, FC Vaslui.
Group E: Stoke City, Dynamo Kiev, Besiktas, Tel Aviv.
Group F: Paris Saint-Germain, Athletic Bilbao, Salzburg, Slovan Bratislava.
Group G: AZ Alkmaar, Metalist Kharkiv, FK Vienna, Malmo FF.
Group H: Birmingham City, Braga, Club Brugge, Maribor.
Group I: AtlÃ©tico Madrid, Udinese, Stade Rennes, Celtic.
Group J: Schalke, Steaua Bucharest, Maccabi Haifa, AEK Larnaca.
Group K: Fulham, FC Twente, Odense, Wisla Krakow.
Group L: Anderlecht, AEK Athens, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sturm Graz.