The lowdown on Chelsea’s Europa League group rivals

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Chelsea are back in the Europa League for the first time since they won the competition in 2013.

Maurizio Sarri’s Blues are among the favourites to reach May’s final in Baku.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the clubs Chelsea have been drawn alongside in Group L.

Who are they?

Chelsea have some travelling to do after being handed trips to Greece, Belarus and Hungary. They have been grouped with PAOK Salonika, Belarusian champions BATE Borisov and Hungarian title-winners Vidi.

How did they qualify?

PAOK finished as runner-ups to AEK Athens in Greece last season, but they fell into the Europa League after losing a Champions League play-off to Benfica. BATE also lost in the play-off round for Europe’s premier club competition, going down 6-2 on aggregate to PSV Eindhoven, while Vidi were beaten at the same stage by AEK.

Danger men

Alexander Hleb is still going strong at the age of 37
Alexander Hleb is still going strong at the age of 37 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

When are the fixtures?

September 20: PAOK Salonika v Chelsea (5.55pm)
October 4: Chelsea v Vidi (8pm)
October 25: Chelsea v BATE Borisov (8pm)
November 8: BATE Borisov v Chelsea (5.55pm)
November 29: Chelsea v PAOK Salonika (8pm)
December 13: Vidi v Chelsea (5.55pm)

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