Roberto Martinez believes that starting and finishing Everton’s Europa League Group fixtures at Goodison Park can give them a real advantage in the competition.
The Blues were drawn in Group H alongside French side Lille, Germany’s Wolfsburg and FC Krasnodar of Russia – a team which quite a lot of fans may not have heard of!
A home game against the 2009 Budesliga champions Wolfsburg will open the group on September 18, with the sixth and final game of the first phase being the visit of Krasnodar on December 11.
Speaking to evertontv after the draw, Martinez said: “The last game is at home and I’m really, really pleased with that. Starting and finishing at home, I think we can use our crowd and Goodison to good effect and to our advantage, because it’s a really challenging and testing group.
“Wolfsburg have got a really good side, really experienced players and will be a really good test for us. Lille pushed Porto very hard in their Champions League qualifier and so you’re talking about two teams with real Champions League potential. Then, Krasnodar have been the surprising team, if you like, beating Real Sociedad over two legs. In the first game (a 1-0 Sociedad win), they were well beaten, but the home leg (a 3-0 Krasnador win) I think it shows it’s going to be a really difficult environment to cope with over there.”
“So, we’ll be heavily challenged but we’re excited and looking forward to it starting.”
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)