Cut the Waffle and Oppose Belgians in Europa League

Legia Warsaw

Club Brugge and Anderlecht, which will meet in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday, are two of the teams that one is keen to oppose in UEFA Europa League group action on Thursday.

The most attractive wager in the third batch of UEFA Europa League group games is Legia Warszawa to beat Club Brugge in Poland at odds of +111 with Marathonbet. Legia parted company with Henning Berg after its 2-2 Polish Ekstraklasa draw at Gornik Zabrze and, judging by the noises emanating from the camp over the subsequent couple of weeks, the mood within it has lifted considerably since the Norwegian was replaced by Stanislav Cherchesov on a deal until the end of the season.

Legia Warszawa has been underperforming under Berg, hence why club officials decided to call time on his reign. Legia won a friendly against third-tier Polish opposition 6-0 in Cherchesov’s first match and it followed up that result with a 3-1 Polish Ekstraklasa home victory over Cracovia Krakow on Sunday, the ideal preparation of its UEFA Europa League Group D assignment versus an equally desperate Club Brugge.

Both Legia Warszawa and Club Brugge are stuck on zero UEFA Europa League Group D points and one would think that three consecutive losses to kick off the section would mean the end of that side’s chance of reaching the knockout stage. Cherchesov has a reputation as a more attacking coach than Berg, home advantage is massive in UEFA competitions and, while both Legia and Brugge have big domestic games next weekend, the former does not have to leave its home city whereas the latter has to make not one but two trips.

One thinks that Cherchesov will be eager to keep the good feeling surrounding Legia Warszawa ahead of its Polish Ekstraklasa home match against Lech Poznan, a clash that goes by the Derby of Poland moniker. One expects that Legia will place Club Brugge under pressure from the first whistle and that the visitor, which boasts a terrible away record in recent times, may struggle to withstand the assault and may throw in the towel if it falls behind. Brugge’s next Belgian Pro League game is away to Anderlecht and one can see its priorities switching to that if it concedes the first goal, which is likely given its road numbers. Brugge has won just three of its last 17 away matches across all events and its scalps have been Charleroi, Lokeren and Patro Eisden, which is one of the Belgian second tier’s worst performers.

Anderlecht’s UEFA Europa League prospects are not quite as bleak as those of Club Brugge but one would not describe them as bright. Anderlecht is bottom of UEFA Europa League Group J following two rounds and a home loss to Tottenham on Thursday may be a body blow from which it cannot recover.

One was interested in backing Tottenham at odds of +140   to win at Anderlecht based on the respective form of the teams without factoring in the small matter of Club Brugge’s visit to the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on Sunday. The UEFA Europa League Group J collateral form lines favour Tottenham over Anderlecht and Spurs have lost just twice in their 12 games across all competitions. Like Club Brugge, one can see Anderlecht giving up the ghost if its UEFA Europa League match gets out of control and it is not as though the Brussels-based side has been brilliant in UEFA tournaments lately. For example, Anderlecht has drawn two and lost four of its last six UEFA Europa League games.

Finally, Anfield will be an awesome place to be on Thursday when Liverpool plays its first home match under Jurgen Klopp since the charismatic German coach succeeded Brendan Rodgers as the Reds manager. Liverpool showed immediate signs of improvement under Klopp when drawing 0-0 at Tottenham in Saturday’s English Premier League game and one can see the Reds sweeping aside dodgy traveller Rubin Kazan in front of the Kop. Rubin’s away statistics have been poor for quite some time, including losing 1-2 at Sion in any earlier UEFA Europa League Group B match. Liverpool makes one’s UEFA Europa League list at odds of -189 with many bookmakers, including Betfred and William Hill.

Tips Summary

Legia Warszawa to beat Club Brugge
22th October 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -175

Tottenham to beat Anderlecht
22th October 18:00 GMT
Odds: -105

Liverpool to beat Rubin Kazan
22th October 20:05 GMT
Odds: +150

Club Brugge
Henning Berg
Jurgen Klopp
Polish Ekstraklasa
Stanislav Cherchesov
UEFA Europa League

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