Balotelli returns home as Nice faces Napoli in Champions League playoffs

Nice's forward Mario Balotelli. (Claude Paris/AP)

NYON, Switzerland — Mario Balotelli will return home to Italy in the pick of the UEFA Champions League playoffs after his Nice side drew Napoli in the final qualification round before the competition’s group stage.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will also see familiar surroundings as his side faces Hoffenheim, while Sevilla, which reached last season’s round of 16, takes on Champions League newcomers Istanbul Basakeshir of Turkey.

Astana of Kazakhstan will have the opportunity to avenge last season’s defeat to Celtic at the same stage.

Also, Azerbaijan champion Qarabag faces Copenhagen, Apoel Nicosia take on Slavia Prague and Young Boys is up against CSKA Moscow.

The remaining ties see Olympiakos matched with Croatian side HNK Rijeka, Hapoel Beer Sheva against Maribor and Sporting Lisbon with Steaua Bucharest.

The ties will be played over two legs with the first taking place on Aug. 15th and 16th and the second a week later.

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