Following a fascinating night of first leg action last Thursday night, this week’s second legs promise to provide even more drama as teams try to seal their place in the last 16. We’re hoping that this will lead to goals, goals, goals in our three selected matches.
There’s plenty of reason to believe that the three games will end in BTTS winners. Here are our selections.
Villarreal V Lyon. 6PM
French side Lyon underlined their credentials to go even further than they did in last year’s competition with a fantastic 3-1 win over Villarreal last week. However, Bruno Genesio’s men will know that there is still work to be done, and can not head to the Estadio de la Cerámica with any sense of complacency.
Villarreal’s last five competitive home games have ended in BTTS winners, and the likes of Carlos Bacca and Pablo Fornals will be out to attack from the off as a minimum of two goals will be needed. Given that Lyon didn’t keep a single clean sheet in the three away group games, there’s every chance that the Yellows will find a way through.
Nonetheless, the visitors are particularly dangerous on the break with Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Mariano Diaz all capable of goals. One goal would give them a far greater sense of breathing space while two would make it almost impossible for the hosts, which is surely what they will aim for.
It might be difficult for Lyon to win this one, but they can score the crucial away goal that should help them seal their progress.
Atalanta V Borussia Dortmund. 8:05PM
A phenomenal 3-2 first leg encounter in Germany has set things up nicely for another epic battle as Atalanta meet Dortmund at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. While the hosts are slight favourites to win on the night, a goal or two for the visitors could settle the tie.
With Dortmund involved, there should be bags of entertainment. The BVB are in generally good form while Michy Batshuayi has instantly started to replace the goals vacated by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With the support of Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle, the Germans will expect to score.
Gian Gasperini’s hosts will fancy their chances too as they look to Alejandro Gomez and Josip Illicic for inspiration in the attacking third. The Italians have suffered three defeats in four home games, but two of those were against Juventus and Napoli. While Dortmund are still a good team, they probably aren’t quite at that level anymore. With everything to play for, the hosts have nothing to fear.
This is one that could easily go either way. Whatever happens, we’re anticipating a game of goals.
Braga V Marseille. 8:05PM
A 3-0 win at the Velodrome leaves Marseille with one foot in planted firmly in the last 16. However, the French club will still want one more goal to confirm their progression, even if they can afford not to win the game.
Rudi Garcia can look to Dimitri Payet, Valere Germain and Clinton N’Jie for attacking quality. In truth, the visitors should have more than enough quality to score against a team that hasn’t kept a single clean sheet in 11 Europa League games, including qualifiers, this term.
Abel Ferreira’s men are probably out of the competition, but will want to give their fans something to cheer at A Pedreira. Paulinho, Ahmed Koka and co. do know where the goal is while Marseille haven’t won a European away game this term.
A score draw or slender home win, with an away goal included, could be on the cards. Let’s hope so.