After an evening out of the spotlight as the Champions League qualification hotted up last night with the competition proper just around the corner, it’s time for the Europa League to take centre stage once more this evening.
The clubs will be all too aware that failure now, after many teams have ploughed a long and winding passage to get to this stage, could disrupt their entire season(s) even at this early stage. With that in mind, no manager will be sending a side out with any other mentality than “win at all costs”.
This should play nicely into our greedy money laden hands as the goals galore market loves nothing more than two sides going hammer and tongs with each other in a good old fashioned, end-to-end cup tie.
Here’s the cream of the crop in my humble opinion:
Rijeka vs Stuttgart, KO: 19:30
Unbeaten Croats’ host stuttering Stuttgart in a game in which they’ll be confident they can make a lasting impression on Ze Germans. Rijeka have won 3 and drawn 2 of their opening 5 fixtures this season but more importantly (for us) they’ve also both scored and conceded in every single one of those matches. Visitors Stuttgart however are in a slightly vein of form, having lost both of their league games by just a single goal, and will be looking forward to a European test to keep their minds away from the unforgiving Bundesliga. Just in case the home sides inability to keep a clean sheet wasn’t enough to convince you to invest your cash, please rest assured that the Germans aren’t afraid to score away from home. They’ve found the net during 7 of their last 8 away matches.
Elfsborg vs Norsjaelland, KO 19.30
The Russians and the Scots conspired to create a potentially fiery all- Scandinavian encounter as Rubin Kazan and Celtic knocked out Danish side Norsjaelland and Sweden’s Elfsborg respectively in their pursuits for the Champions League! This left today’s opponents to fight it out for Europa League qualification instead. Elfsborg are more than half way through their Swedish Allsvenkan league campaign and have scored an average of well over a goal per game whilst also conceding more than a goal a game in their last 20 matches. The Danes aren’t goal shy either, their last 3 games have produced on average 4 goals, and we only need 2 here, just 1 for both sides!
Udinese vs Slovan Liberec, KO: 19:45
Czech under-dogs Liberec travel to Italy in a bid to unsettle the favourites and progress to the Europa League proper. The away side are in fine form winning their last 3 on the bounce and have failed to score on just one occasion in their last 13 outings. Udinese may have 1 eye on their Seria A opener at the weekend but should have more than enough at home to the Czechs’ here. The Italians have drawn a blank only once in their last 14 games, and that was a pre-season friendly away at Bayer Leverkusen.