The group stages for the 2015-16 Europa League was drawn in Monaco today and Tottenham Hotspur will face a long trip to Azerbaijan this season. Spurs drew Azerbaijani club Qarabag and will face one of the longest flights of any club in the Europa League.
Europa league Group J
So, overall this might not be a Group of Death, but it's pretty much a nightmare draw for Tottenham. Spurs avoided any of the big, bad teams from Pot 2, but Anderlecht is a very solid team and not one by any means to overlook. This will also be a "replay" of sorts of the 1984 UEFA Cup Final, which Tottenham won 4-3 on penalty kicks. So that's fun.
Monaco, by contrast, was one of the teams most Spurs fans wanted to avoid, as they're a petrodollar funded club that, while underachieving, has enough talent to compete with anyone.
But it's Qarabag that all Europa League teams wanted to avoid. There are over 2800 miles between London and Baku, which makes it a Thursday trip to THE LAND OF FIRE that Spurs probably are not relishing. The defending Azerbaijani league champions have a history too: they beat Twente in the playoff round of last year's Europa League. Best not to underestimate them.
No question: it's an ugly group, but it should make for some fun matches, and at least Azerbaijan is a real country, unlike when Spurs had to go to FC Sheriff in Tiraspol two years ago.