The rematches of the Europa League playoffs will decide who goes home and who gets to play on the European team competitions scene a bit longer this season are in front of us and as usual, we’re going to use them in order to get some money into your pockets by predicting the outcomes of these showdowns.
Couple of teams has already made a decisive step in the first leg but there are a lot of open duels, meaning that we will definitely not be denied the drama and some tense soccer matches. Nevertheless, we’ll be there to enjoy the quality performances and hopefully make some worth out of it.
Athletic Bilbao (Esp) vs. Panathinaikos (Gre)
Three-Way: 1: Athletic Bilbao -286; X: +475 Draw; Panathinaikos +1100
Spread -1.5: Athletic Bilbao -108; Panathinaikos +100
Total +2.5: Over -149; Under +138
Team that finished seventh in the last season of Spanish Primera league entered the Europa League competition in the third qualifying round and defeated the Romanian representative Dinamo Bucuresti (4:1 in aggregate). Having in mind the strength of the Spanish team soccer, they are definitely one of the favorites to advance into the group stage but they face a formidable foe.
In the first week of La Liga that took place during the weekend, they recorded a home draw against Getafe team (o:o). Centre-Back Yeray Alvarez (testicular cancer) and midfielder Ander Iturraspe (hamstring) are unavailable for the rematch.
Panathinaikos team also entered the Europa League competition in the third qualifying round after finishing ranked third in the last season’s Greek Championship. They defeated one of the underdogs that weren’t projected to advance this far, Azerbaijan team Gabala (3:1 in aggregate).
Greek Championship also started last weekend and Panathinaikos recorded a 1:1 road draw against the newcomer in the league Platanias. Manager Marinos Ouzundis will not have Rodrigo Moledo (elbow) and Niklas Hult (suspension through sports court) at his disposal on Thursday.
Athletic Bilbao (Esp) vs. Panathinaikos (Gre) – Match Prediction
Bilbao recorded a 3:2 win on the road (two goals by Aduriz and one by De Marcos) and another win should not come in question. A -1.5 goal spread for the home team also looks good because the Greeks are known for meltdowns after being outplayed and without hope of advancing early. In addition, I would also take the over 2.5 goals.
MY PICK: Athletic Bilbao AH -1.5 (-108)
Additional pick: Over 2.5 goals (-149)
Braga (Por) vs. Hafnafjordur (Ice)
Three-Way: 1: Braga -312; X: +550 Draw; Hafnafjordur +1400
Spread -1.5: Braga -123; Hafnafjordur +122
Total +2.5: Over -141; Under +131
Portuguese representatives in the Europa League competition, Sporting Braga entered the play in the third qualifying round after finishing fifth in the national championship last year. There, they defeated the Swedish side AIK (3:2 in aggregated a.e.t.). Now, they’ll face probably the weakest team in this stage, the Icelandic team Hafnafjordur.
Currently, they rank fifth in the Portuguese Championship with six points in three games (2-0-1 record) and on Sunday they recorded a 2:0 road win over newcomer Aves. Mauro (knee), Marafona (knee), Wilson Eduardo (left wing), Tiago Perreira (meniscus) and Ricardo Ferreira (thigh) are out because of the injuries while Diego Sousa is unavailable because of the suspension through sports court.
The Icelandic champions managed to go very far in the competition this year as they eliminated Vikingur team in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League (3:1 in aggregate). In the third qualifying round, they were eliminated by Maribor (2:0 in aggregate) thus earning the appearance in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa League competition.
Icelandic Premier League started at the beginning of the summer and they HF team already played 14 games, snatching 24 total points enough for the No. 3 spot in the league table currently (6-6-2 record). Head coach Heimir Gudjonsson has his entire roster available for the rematch.
Braga (Por) vs. Hafnafjordur (Ice) – Match Prediction
The first duel on Iceland went Portuguese team way, 2:1 (goals by Paulinho and Stojiljkovic). Another win should not come in question and similarly like in the previous duel between Bilbao and Panathinaikos, a -1.5 spread looks very appealing.
MY PICK: Braga AH -1.5 (-123)
Marseille (Fra) vs. Domzale (Slo)
Three-Way: 1: Marseille -345; X: +650 Draw; Domzale +1900
Spread -2: Marseille +120; Domzale -128
Total +3: Over +106; Under -115
One of the most famous French soccer teams, Olympique Marseille will be competing in the UEFA Europa League this year but they first must go past the next obstacle, the Slovenian team Domzale. In the third qualifying round, they went by Belgian side Oostende (4:2 in aggregate).
In French championship, they rank fifth after three rounds of play with seven total points (2-1-0 record). After two consecutive wins, they recorded a home draw last weekend against Angers (1:1). Manager Rudi Garcia will have his entire roster available for the rematch.
Slovenian side is one of the few teams that are in the competition since the first qualifying round of the Europa League. First, they eliminated Flora Tallinn (5:2 in aggregate) and Valur (5:3 in aggregate) thus advancing to the third round where they went pass German team SC Freiburg (2:1 in aggregate) which was one of the biggest upsets of the round.
In the Slovenian championship, they currently ranked fourth with nine points in six games (2-3-1 record) and they are coming off from three consecutive draws in the national championship. Manager Simon Rozman has his entire roster available.
Marseille (Fra) vs. Domzale (Slo) – Match Prediction
The first matchup in Slovenia finished with a 1:1 draw (goals by Vetrih for Domzale and Sanson for Marseille), but I’m pretty much convinced that this is as far as the Slovenian team can go. The French team is a huge favorite of the books and I can’t find too much value there. Instead, I will go with the under as I expect a tough battle on both sides of the pitch.
MY PICK: Under 3 goals (-128)
Rosenborg (Nor) vs. Ajax (Ned)
Three-Way: 1: Rosenborg +290; X: +280 Draw; Ajax +104
Spread +0.5: Rosenborg -108; Ajax -101
Total +2.5: Over -130; Under +125
The Rosenborg team qualified for the UEFA Champions League but they got eliminated by Celtic (1:o in aggregate) in the third qualifying round and now they have the chance to secure the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.
After 20 weeks in the Norwegian Premier league, they rank at the top of the table with 41 points (12-5-3 record) and they are on a good way of winning another title. Nevertheless, on Sunday they recorded a rare home loss against Haugesund (0:1) and it might be the sign of weariness. Currently, there are no injured players but eight guys face the risk of suspension four yellow cards in European team competitions so far.
Similarly, as their next opponents, Ajax earned the UEFA CL berth but was eliminated by French side Nice on away goal rule (3:3 in aggregate, 1:1 on the road, 2:2 at home). It looks like the team is not yet synced after a head coach change during the offseason.
In Netherland Premier league they rank eighth after two weeks with one win and one loss so far. On Sunday they defeated FC Groningen in Amsterdam 3:1 (one goal each by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Hakim Ziyech and Lasse Schone). Newly appointed manager Marcel Keizer will not have Daley Sinkgraven (knee), Abdelhak Nouri (heart condition) and Norbert Alblas (broken wrist) at his disposal for the rematch.
Rosenborg (Nor) vs. Ajax (Ned) – Match Prediction
Rosenborg made a decisive step in the first leg with a 1:0 road win at Amstel Arena (score by Adegnebro). Nevertheless, I don’t think that they can record a win at home but a draw for them will be enough. I expect a big fight in this duel and this could be one of the few games that could go over 2.5 goals in total.
MY PICK: Over 2.5 goals (-130)
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