Sevilla leads the way in the Spanish Primera Division and the White and Reds deserve top billing on the UEFA Europa League card away to Standard in Belgium on Thursday.
The state of play in UEFA Europa League Group J with two rounds remaining means Sevilla will reach the next stage if it avoids defeat at Standard and, realistically, the White and Reds encounter a home team for which anything less than three points will end its participation in the tournament.
The UEFA Europa League Group J situation should result in a wide-open game and bookmakers are offering remarkably good odds about Sevilla getting the better of Standard for the second time in two months given how the reverse fixture played out. Sevilla smashed Standard 5-1 in Spain and the White and Reds put their cue in the rack with more than 15 minutes to go. Whereas Sevilla is top of the Spanish Primera Division ladder, Standard is ranked sixth in the Belgium First Division A and struggling to stay in touch with Genk. And whereas Sevilla has to travel before backing up in its domestic league, Standard has a huge Belgian First Division A match at Club Brugge as its next local assignment.
TOP TIP! – Sevilla to beat Standard @ -125 with Bet365
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TOP TIP! – Frankfurt to beat Marseille @ -133
Most of the UEFA Europa League Group H business has been conducted – Frankfurt and Lazio will progress, Marseille and Apollon will crash out – but one thinks there is mileage in backing Eintracht to beat L’OM in Germany on Thursday at -133 with 888sport.
Frankfurt has won nine and drawn one of its last 10 games across all competitions and, with momentum being important in sport, one thinks Eintracht will place more emphasis on the UEFA Europa League Group H dead rubber than Marseille. September’s reverse UEFA Europa League Group H fixture was remarkable in that Frankfurt trailed from the third minute to the 52nd minute and Eintracht managed to hit the front after they were reduced to 10 men on the hour mark.
Unlike Marseille, Frankfurt does not have a clean bill of health for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group J match but Eintracht will be keen to impress their home fans whereas L’OM will, if they have any sense, prioritise their next French Ligue 1 game and field a second-string outfit.
TOP TIP! – Zenit to beat Kobenhavn @ -137
Russian Premier League leader Zenit is a formidable force in St Petersburg and one expects the Lions will roar to another home victory when they entertain Kobenhavn on Thursday at -137 with Betway.
Zenit has not lost at home since losing 1-2 to Krasnodar in a Russian Premier League match seven months ago and a lot of that is because the Lions supporters make the players of visiting sides feel extremely uncomfortable. Kobenhavn’s UEFA Europa League away results have been excellent – four wins, two draws and zero losses – but the Danish Superliga frontrunner has ridden its luck on its travels, particularly versus Atalanta in August. Kobenhavn and Atalanta could have played that game 100 times and the Goddess would have won 99 of them; it was a miracle the match ended as a 0-0 draw.
Sevilla, Frankfurt and Zenit are one’s UEFA Europa League picks but it would be remiss not to mention the Group B game between sister teams Salzburg and Leipzig, which is sure to attract commentary if the latter beats the former in Austria to book its spot in the tournament’s knockout stage.
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