Football: Koeman's Southampton draw Vitesse in Europa League third qualifying round

Dutchman Koeman started his coaching career at Vitesse in 2000-01 before leaving to take over at Ajax.
Dutchman Koeman started his coaching career at Vitesse in 2000-01 before leaving to take over at Ajax. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

NYON (AFP) - Southampton manager Ronald Koeman can look forward to a reunion with his old side Vitesse Arnhem after the teams were paired together in Friday's Europa League third qualifying round draw.

Dutchman Koeman started his coaching career at Vitesse in 2000-01 before leaving to take over at Ajax.

Before that, he briefly played alongside current Vitesse coach Pteer Bosz towards the end of his playing career at Feyenoord.

The Saints finished seventh in the Premier League last season to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2003, when they lost to Steaua Bucharest in the first round of the Uefe Cup.

They have not won a European tie since beating Limerick of Ireland in the Uefa Cup first round in 1981.

Vitesse, who will travel to England for the first leg, finished fifth in the Dutch top flight last season before winning in a play-off to qualify for Europe.

The other Premier League side in the draw, West Ham United, could face Scottish opposition in the third qualifying round in the shape of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

West Ham, who qualified for Europe thanks to their fair play record, lead Maltese minnows Birkirkara 1-0 after the first leg of their second qualifying round tie.

However, Inverness must overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit when they go to Romania to face Astra Giurgiu next week if they are to stand a chance of facing the Hammers.

Athletic Bilbao, the 2012 Europa League finalists, have been drawn against Hafnarfjordur of Iceland or Inter Baku of Azerbaijan, while Borussia Dortmund were paired with either Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus or Wolfsberger of Austria.