Gent v Genk, Celta v Celtic: when near namesakes collide

Forgive us in the office if we didn’t allow ourselves a little airpunch when Gent emerged in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 draw followed immediately by Genk.

Never mind that it is only the second all-Belgian tie in UEFA competition history: the mere verbal similarity of the team names left us feeling the roulette wheel of the draw had thrown up a jackpot. And it is not the first time that has happened – and there are still some other clashes we would like to see. Embrace the assonance.

Any we have missed? Let us have your suggestions using #UEL on Twitter and Facebook.

Matches that have happened …

Gent v Genk
Commentators will have to keep their diction clear, and writers must watch their spelling, when these teams meet for the third and fourth times this season on 9 and 16 March. Both previous matches ended in home wins.

2012 final highlights: Falcao double helps Atlético to glory
Atlético v Athletic – 2012 UEFA Europa League final

Atlético v Athletic
Atlético Madrid and Athletic Club abutted each other not only in the dictionary but also in the 2012 UEFA Europa League final in Bucharest.

Sparta v Spartak
Sparta Praha (prefixed in honour of the ancient Greek city-state) and Spartak Moskva (named after slave hero Spartacus) have played seven times in Europe including in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup.

Celta v Celtic

Celta v Celtic©Getty Images

Celta v Celtic
The famed tribe of the Celts gave their name to these clubs from Vigo and Glasgow, and in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup the Scottish version saw off their Spanish counterparts on away goals en route to the final.

Rapid v Rapid
In the 1972/73 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round, Rapid Bucureşti knocked out Rapid Wien. Sadly Groningen’s Be Quick 1887 were not waiting in the next stage for a run-off.

St-Étienne v St Mirren
Those of a theological bent may have enjoyed the encounter between these two sanctified sides in the 1980/81 UEFA Cup (the club named after first martyr Étienne, some say Stephen, saw off the team inspired by Irish monk St Mirin 2-0 on aggregate). 

Matches we’d like to see …

Randers v Rangers
Denmark’s Randers have appeared in Europe five times in recent seasons yet are still to meet their Glaswegian near-namesakes. Also to note: FC Rànger’s of Andorra.

UEFA Europa League 2016/17 Round of 16 Draw

Lyon are drawn out in Nyon©Sportsfile

Lyon v Nyon
Stade Nyonnais play opposite UEFA’s Swiss headquarters but are yet to qualify for one of our competitions and earn a 175km trip across the French border. Still, we can dream.

Aris v Paris
Neither the Thessaloniki nor the Limassol version of Aris have ever been drawn against Paris Saint-Germain (in fact the Cypriot incarnation, who once boasted Oleh Blokhin, are yet to qualify for Europe).

Shakhtar v Shakhter or Shakhtyor
Sadly, UEFA fate has never brought together the variously spelt coalmining-allied clubs of Donetsk (Ukraine), Karagandy (Kazakhstan) and Soligorsk (Belarus).

APOEL v Hapoel
Similarly, the Nicosia-based outfit in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 have never locked horns with any side affiliated to Israel’s trade union-based Hapoel organisation.

Bohemian v Bohemians
Hibernian v Hibernians
Still waiting for Prague-Dublin (for Bohs) and Edinburgh-Paola (for Hibs) derbies. The Maltese Hibernians are named after the Scottish team.

Wolfsburg v Wolves
Wolfsburg’s rise to European prominence, famously under Wolfgang Wolf, came too late to catch the heyday of England’s Wolverhampton Wanderers. Also, Austria’s Wolfsberg got into UEFA Europa League qualifying last term but Wolfsburg were already into the UEFA Champions League proper.

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