After finally losing out on a treble thanks to Arsenal on match day four, we’re looking to bounce back in style on Thursday by increasing out Europa League group stage profit once more. If we can, we’ll be singing to the tune of a 4/1 winner.
Once again, we’re backing six teams to all find the target at some stage. Results are irrelevant; as long as we have no clean sheets, it’ll be time to celebrate once more.
Here are out selections.
BATE Borisov v Red Star Belgrade. 6PM.
While Arsenal are set to win Group H in style, BATE and Red Star enter Thursday’s clash knowing that three points could be enough to seal a place in the last 32. With both teams well motivated, let’s hope it’ll be a game of goals.
The Belarusian hosts have scored in all four of their Europa League matches while the likes of Mikhail Gordeychuk and Vitali Rodionov have scored plenty of goals on the domestic scene. As a club that has appeared, and performed well, in the Champions League in the recent past, a goal should be the minimum expectation at the Borisov Arena.
Vladan Miljevic’s men do score a lot of goals too. Meanwhile, an unbeaten run seven games, including the very credible 0-0 draw at the Emirates, should give them confidence. After scoring 14 in three games since then, Aleksandar Pesic and co. should be ready to cause problems for the hosts.
It’s an important game for two sides that shared a 1-1 draw back in Serbia. Another BTTS winner looks likely here.
Lugano v Hapoel Beer Sheva. 6PM
In Group G, Hapoel Beer Sheva make the trip to Switzerland knowing that only a win will do as they bid to keep their slim chances of progress alive. However, with home side Lugano in a similar position, the Israelis should not expect to have things all their own way.
The visitors did win the reverse clash back in September thanks to a 2-1 scoreline while all four of their Europa League matches have ended in BTTS winners. This, combined with a very strong domestic form, should give Bachar Barak confidence as he seeks inspiration from Ben Sahar and co.
Lugano have scored in seven straight matches themselves, however, and can look to Carlinhos and Alexander Gerndt for goals. With home advantage on their side, it would be very surprising if the Swiss cannot find a way through their opponents.
Still, given that all four of their Europa League matches have ended in BTTS winners too, the safe bet appears to be with goals.
Braga v Hoffenheim. 8:05PM
German side Hoffenheim haven’t enjoyed the best of Europa League campaigns, but can resurrect their hopes of reaching the knockouts by picking up three points in Portugal. Then again, having already lost to Braga on home soil, the visitors shouldn’t expect to have an easy ride at the Estadio Muncipal.
The hosts aren’t the most frequent scorers but do spread the goals throughout their team. A disappointing 2-0 home loss to Ludogorets was one of just two home blanks this term. With the other coming against a superior Porto, Abel Ferreira’s men can be quietly confident.
Hoffenheim hit three past Cologne in their last domestic away game while all four of their Europa League games have been BTTS winners.Sandro Wagner, Marc Uth, and Andrej Kramaric are all capable of finding the net and should find that too.
Still, their defence isn’t great, which should show here. Back both team to score.