Europa League Draw

by Adam Clark

Everton will face Lille, Wolfsburg and FC Krasnodar in Group H of the Europa League.

The draw for the first phase of the competition proper was made in Monaco on Friday lunchtime and handed the Blues trips to France, Germany and Russia.

Lille, French champions in 2011, finished third in Ligue 1 last term behind big-spending duo Paris St Germain and Monaco and are a former club of Toffees winger Kevin Mirallas.

The Belgian could potentially come up against compatriot Divock Origi when the two sides meet, the on-loan striker part of a squad which also includes former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou, Denmark international Simon Kjaer and French midfielder Rio Mavuba.

The meeting with the Les Dogues (The Great Danes) will also see Everton tackle French opposition in Europe for the first time.

Wolfsburg's 30,000-capacity Volkswagen Arena will be familiar to the Toffees, a pre-season friendly having taken place between the two clubs at the ground in 2010.

The 2009 Bundesliga champions, the German's current squad boasts the likes of one-time Chelsea winger Kevin de Bruyne, former Arsenal striker Niklas Bendtner and journeyman poacher Ivica Olic.

FC Krasnodar, not to be confused with rivals Kuban Krasnodar, finished fifth in the Russian Premier League last season and are based in the south west of the country.

Manaaged by Aleh Heorhiyevich Konanaw, their players include former Wigan Athletic defender Andreas Granqvist and Brazilian attacking midfielder Wanderson, who has been their top scorer for the last two seasons.

Ex-Porto and Sporting Lisbon midfielder Marat Izmailov, who has over 30 caps for Russia, is also on the books of the club, who are nicknamed the Bulls and play their football at the 31,000-seater Kuban Stadium.

Everton's Group H Schedule

MATCHDAY ONE: Everton v Wolfsburg, Thursday 18 September, 8.05pm (UK)

MATCHDAY TWO: FC Krasnodar v Everton, Thursday 2 October, 5pm (UK)

MATCHDAY THREE: Lille v Everton, Thursday 23 October, 6pm (UK)

MATCHDAY FOUR: Everton v Lille, Thursday 6 November, 8.05pm (UK)

MATCHDAY FIVE: Wolfsburg v Everton, Thursday 27 November, 6pm (UK)

MATCHDAY SIX: Everton v FC Krasnodar, Thursday 11 December, 8.05pm (UK)

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