Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel isn't shying away from a possible matchup against Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in the Europa League, but he hopes it doesn't come in the round of 32.
Tuchel's side fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to PAOK on Thursday, finishing as runners-up in Group C and subjecting themselves to a difficult draw as the knockout stage begins.
Dortmund will face one of the group winners or one of the top third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage: Porto, Olympiakos or Manchester United.
With Liverpool earning the top spot in their group, Dortmund could potentially be drawn against Klopp, who led BVB to the Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012. Tuchel said he wouldn't mind facing his predecessor in the later stages.
"What I want is completely unimportant here. We will just face who we get in the draw," Tuchel said. "We believe that we can beat any opponent.
"A tie with Liverpool would be a real blessing for every reporter out there. But I would say: the later, the better. Because that would mean that we would still be in the competition for a while yet."
Despite conceding 77 percent of possession, PAOK won with their only shot of the match, and Tuchel called the result "disappointing."
"We are disappointed because we did not manage to win the match," he said. "We did manage to dominate proceedings and to create some good chances on goal. But nothing more."
Tuchel blamed the busy fixture slade for his team's failure to win a group in which they were major favourites. Russia's Krasnodar topped Group C instead, while Dortmund edged PAOK and Qabala.
"It was not particularly easy for us because we knew that we had pretty much already lost our battle with Krasnodar and that we were playing again on Sunday," Tuchel said.
"It was also difficult for me to decide on a line-up. The absolute exertion you need, respect for the task and that real sharpness and passion about your game -- we didn't have all those things you need to win games.
"And so that's why our performance looked like it was missing a certain something tonight. That's how it was possible to beat us today with one shot on goal."
He added: "Our group was a complicated group, even if the teams in it were not the biggest names in European football. Amid all the harshness and criticism, it is important not to be unfair and to demand too much.
"The expectations were for us to win. However, we failed to ensure we put in the effort needed to win. The defeat hurts us and is unnecessary, but I don't want to over-dramatise it either. We still have three very important games ahead of us this year."