The presence of England's two leading clubs provides the Europa League with a welcome boost as the competition resumes this week with a pair of matches fit for the latter stages of the Champions League.

Three-time European champion Manchester United and Manchester City, the English Premier League leader, were given the tough draws after dropping down into the Europa League following surprise third-place finishes in their Champions League groups.

United plays Dutch giant Ajax, with the first leg in Amsterdam on Thursday, while City takes on reigning champion Porto on the same day.

Another standout match sees Lazio, which is third in the Serie A, host 2010 winner Atletico Madrid.