The lowdown on Chelsea’s Europa League opponents

Chelsea are back in the Europa League for the first time since Branislav Ivanovic’s late goal won the trophy for them in 2013.

Maurizio Sarri’s Blues are among the favourites to reach May’s final in Baku and will be strong favourites to see off the other three sides 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.

[/media-credit] Sarri can feel confident of Chelsea’s chances

Danger men

PAOK striker Aleksandar Prijovic has continued his fine form from last season, scoring in his opening Greek Superleague appearance of the campaign and netting four times in six Champions League qualifiers. Mikhail Gordeychuk will be looked on to score for BATE while former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb continues to play a role at the age of 37. Midfielder Istvan Kovacs should play a key part for Vidi, while French defender Loic Nego will make his presence felt at both ends of the pitch.

When are the matches?

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)