Both Spanish sides have fared poorly in La Liga with Valencia losing to Getafe and Athletic Bilbao needing a last-minute equaliser against lowly Sporting Gijon. But should they progress to the semi-finals, they will not be paired against each other and the potential of an all-Spanish final remains a distinct possibilty.
Europe could be a welcome distraction for the German sides Schalke 04 and Hannover as well and if results go their way, they could also set up an all-German final in May. Schalke face Valencia and will rely on Klaas jan Huntelaar, the top scorer of the tournament with nine goals, to supply the necessary goals. Hannover face struggling Atletico Madrid who were outmatched by Real Zaragoza in La Liga on Sunday.
Sporting Lisbon stunned Manchester City by eliminating them from the tournament in their last-16 tie and face a comparatively easier outing this time around against Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv.
Gertjan Verbeek's AZ Alkmaar will fancy themselves against Valencia as they are currently unbeaten in eight European home games but Unai Emery's men have yet to lose a game against a Dutch side in their history and they also had an easy time against PSV Eindhoven in the last round.
Thursday's Europa League Fixtures