Violets to do Europa League Double over Black Devils

Austria Vienna drew 3-3 at Roma in the Europa League.

Austria Vienna drew 3-3 at Roma in the Europa League.

Austria Wien is in a strong position to qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage from Group E and it could book its place in the next phase if it beats Astra on Thursday.

Four rounds into UEFA Europa League Group E and Austria Wien is second on the ladder, three points behind Roma but one point ahead of Astra and an additional point in front of Plzen. Victory for Austria Wien over Astra combined with anything other than a Plzen away success over Roma would result in the Austrian Bundesliga team progressing.

The main reasons for headlining Austrian Wien are its UEFA Europa League head to head against Astra and its half-decent results versus Group E giant Roma. Austria Wien beat Astra 3-2 in Romania two months ago, never trailing and hanging on to its one-goal advantage after Lukas Rotpuller’s red card in the 79th minute. Austria Wien had the better of most of the UEFA Europa League Group E match statistics against Astra, including enjoying 55 per cent possession on the road. Austria Wien drew 3-3 at Roma before losing 2-4 at home to the Italian Serie A side, whereas Astra slumped to a 0-4 loss at the Yellow and Reds. On those UEFA Europa League form lines one likes the idea of backing Austria Wien at odds of -125  with several bookmakers, including Bet365, BoyleSports and William Hill, to get the better of Astra.

A draw will be sufficient for Olympiacos to qualify for the UEFA Europa League last 32 from Group B but, because the Greek Super League team defeated Young Boys 1-0 in the reverse fixture, one fancies it to triumph in Greece on Thursday at odds of -143  with Coral and William Hill.

Olympiacos should be full of confidence going into its UEFA Europa League Group B home game versus Young Boys having won seven and drawn one of its last eight matches across all competitions, including a last-start 3-0 victory over Panathinaikos that increased its lead at the top of the Greek Super League ladder to a healthy seven points.

Young Boys has lost only one of its last 13 games across various tournaments but it has not beaten a genuinely good side on its travels since beating St Gallen 2-0 in July. Young Boys has failed to come up to scratch in most of its continental assignments in recent seasons and Olympiacos still rates as one of Europe’s toughest road trips.

Finally, bookmakers are paying insufficient respect to Irish Premier Division champion Dundalk and it is worth chancing at odds of +240  with Marathonbet to defeat AZ in Dublin.

Dundalk drew 1-1 when it played AZ on the latter’s home turf in Alkmaar two months ago and, while the Irish Premier Division team required an 89th-minute equaliser to snare a point, it had more efforts on target than its host.

On UEFA Europa League Group D collateral form lines there is no doubt that Dundalk is superior to AZ. Dundalk lost 1-2 home and away to Zenit, whereas AZ lost 0-5 at the Russian Premier League side. The performances of Dundalk and AZ against Maccabi Tel-Aviv were identical – the former won 1-0 at home and the latter drew 0-0 away – and then there is the direct head to head that favours one’s underdog selection.

The odds that bookmakers are offering about Dundalk winning on Thursday are insulting even allowing for the relatively small sample size of results on which one is based one’s judgement. There is no way in the world that AZ should be such a clear favourite given what one has cited above.

Tips Summary

Austria Wien to beat Astra
Thursday 24th November, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -125

Olympiacos to beat Young Boys
Thursday 24th November, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -143

Dundalk to beat AZ Alkmaar
Thursday 24th November, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  +240