Despite a couple of near misses, the Europa League group phase has been provided a healthy amount of profit once again in 2017-18. Let’s hope we can end it in style with another BTTS treble on matchday six to set us up perfectly for the knockout stage in the new year.
Our three selected games start at 6PM, so we could be celebrating before the 8:05PM games have even started. With a potential return of over £50 from a tenner, that’s gotta be worth a punt.
Austria Vienna v AEK Athens
In Group D, AEK Athens are nearly through to the last 32 but will want to seal their place in style with a positive result on matchday six. However, they shouldn’t expect to have things all their own way against a Vienna side that could still pip them at the post.
Had it been goal difference rather than head-to-head records, the visitors would be extremely confident. As it stands, though, Manolo Jiminez’s men may will be looking for at least one point. Scoring for a seventh straight game will be on their agenda, with Marko Livaja standing out as their main source of inspiration.
Vienna have scored in each of their last five at the Ernst Happel Stadion, however, which will give something for the viistors to think about. Kevin Friesenbichler and co. are more than capable of finding the net. Then again, each of those last five have been BTTS winners, and they may need more than one goal to win this one here.
After sharing a 2-2 draw in Greece earlier in the group, both teams should be fancied to score.
Dynamo Kiev v Partizan Belgrade
Dynamo Kiev have already secured their place in the last 32, but still have a little work to do if they want to top Group B. A home game against Partizan should give them a great chance to get over the line, although the Serbians will want to leapfrog them at the end.
Thanks to a better head-to-head record over Skenderbeu, the visitors will join Dynamo in the knockouts regardless of what happens on Thursday evening. This should give Miroslav Dukic’s men the freedom to go for a win. After scoring in 11 straight matches, they can hope to see Leandre Tawamba Kana and co. extend that run to a dozen.
The visitors know this trip won’t be easy, though, especially after losing 3-2 in the reverse encounter. The Kiev Olympic Stadium has been the stage for a lot of goals this term. With several players scoring on a frequent basis, Aleksandar Khatskevich’s men should be fancied to top the group with a positive result.
A home win is probably the most likely outcome. However, we’ll putting our money on goals.
Istanbul Basaksehir v Braga
Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir kept their hopes of reaching the last 32 alive with a fantastic win in Bulgaria two weeks ago. While Abdullah Avci’s men will need Hoffenheim to do them a favour in the other Group C encounter, they can only focus on their task of beating Braga.
Having scored in 13 straight matches, the hosts certainly have enough firepower to cause problems. The strikeforce of Emmanuel Adebayor, Mevlut Erdinc and Eljero Elia are more than capable while midfiedlers Emre and Gokhan Inler provide plenty of quality too. Despite losing to Braga in Portugal, they did at least grab a goal on that occasion too.
Abel Ferreira’s men know that they are safely through but will want to top the group with a win, not least as it would taking their streak to four straight wins. After scoring three in each of those three recent wins, they should fancy their hopes of punishing Basaksehir’s defensive weaknesses.
This one could go either way, but we do fancy both teams to score.