The UEFA Europa League group phase continues this Thursday, so take a look at our tips and predictions for the Group D matches. With plenty of picks and markets to choose from, don’t waste your time and enter the action at Get More Sports.
Austria Vienna (Aut) vs. Rijeka (Cro)
Three-Way: Austria Vienna +188; X: +248 Draw; 2: Rijeka +188
Spread 0: Austria Vienna +108; Rijeka -108
Total +2.5: Over +106; Under -115
The Austrian vice-champions are in a poor form of late as they won only one in the last four matches, and are currently in the fourth position in the Bundesliga with seven points behind Sturm Graz. Austria is not particularly good in the Europa League as well as they collected just one points out possible six, so this is a must-win game for them if they want to stay in the contention for the second place in the group D. After a disappointing 0:3 loss in a derby against Sturm, another failure would be devastating for Austria and their fans.
Austria has played 19 games so far in the 2017/18, recording nine victories, five draws, and five defeats, with a goal difference of 32:26, which is a bit over three goals per contest on average. When it comes to matches at Franz Horr Stadium, Austria are far from perfect as they suffered three losses, including the heavy one to Milan, 1:5, so Rijeka will have a decent chance to get a positive result on Thursday night.
The midfielder Raphael Holzhauser is the team’s top scorer at the moment with seven goals to his name, while Kevin Friesenbichler and Christoph Monschein with five, and Felipe Pires are behind Holzhauer on the goal-scoring chart. The Brazilian Pires is the most creative individual with seven assists, while Friesenbichler, Holzhauer, and Dominik Prokop recorded four assists each. Head coach Thorsten Fink has plenty of injured players and cannot count on Vesel Demaku (shoulder), Lucas Venuto (cruciate ligament rupture), Robert Almer (cruciate ligament rupture), and Ruan (torn tendon). Alexander Grunwald (hyaline cartilage), Heiko Westermann (ankle), and Osman Hadzikic (foot) are also unavailable for this tilt.
The Croatian champions failed to reach the Champions League and now are struggling in the Europa League with two losses in two games. Rijeka recorded just one win in last four matches, and the most recent defeat to Istra left them five points behind the league leaders Dinamo Zagreb. Still, the Whites have a chance to stay alive in the pursuit of the second position in this group, but a win in Austria is imperative. Rijeka had a solid display at Milan as they lost in the dying moments but showed a lot of promise so I wouldn’t rule them out just yet from the Europa League. They already eliminated one Austrian team out of the European competition this year – Salzburg in the UCL qualification phase.
Rijeka played 21 games in this campaign, recording 11 victories, three draws, and seven losses, with a goal difference of 43:21, which is just over three goals per contest on average. The Croatians failed to score away from home on only two occasions, and considering the goal-scoring numbers from both sides, I think this can be a quite entertaining match to watch.
The Brazilian forward Heber is the team’s leading scorer with nine goals, while Mario Gavranovic with eight and the Austrian Alexander Gorgon with six are following him on the scoring table. The midfielder Josip Misic, Heber, and Gorgon all recorded four assists to their respective names, while Filip Bradaric and Gavranovic contributed with three dishes each. Matjaz Kek is delighted to have all of his players healthy and available for this duel, so unlike Austria, Rijeka are without injured players and are at full strength.
Austria Vienna (Aut) vs. Rijeka (Cro) – Match Prediction
I expect both teams to play attacking the football and create plenty of chances, so I anticipate a bunch of goals on both sides. A draw is not an option for neither of these teams, so the goals should come.
MY PICK: Both teams to score YES (-120)
AC Milan (Ita) vs. AEK Athens (Gre)
Three-Way: AC Milan -182; X: +380 Draw; 2: AEK Athens +750
Spread -1: AC Milan -130; AEK Athens +120
Total +2.5: Over -125; Under +120
The Rossoneri suffered three straight defeats in Serie A, and the latest one to the city rivals Inter has been particularly painful. Mauro Icardi sank them with a hat-trick in the 90th minute, and that loss left Milan in the 10th place with 12 points behind the leaders Napoli. The only positive so far in the season is that Milan has six points from two games and are looking well enough to progress to the next stage of the Europa League.
Milan played 14 games in the 20174/18 campaign, recording ten victories and four losses, with a goal difference of 30:16, which is almost 3.3 goals per contest on average. They are much better at San Siro as they have six wins and one defeat, scoring 17 goals, and failing to find the net only against Roma in a 0-2 loss. These rivals met before in the Champions League; Milan have a pair of wins, while AEK won once, and one clash ended as a draw.
The Portuguese striker Andre Silva is the team’s top scorer with six goals, but Patrick Cutrone with five and right-winger Suso with four are also the key performers. Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu are the best assist-makers with four dishes to their respective names, while Fabio Borini has three assists so far. The right-back Andrea Conti is out until March due to a cruciate ligament injury, and the left-back Luca Antonelli will be back in a couple of weeks as he is still recovering from a muscle setback. The same problem has the striker Nikola Kalinic, who also cannot help his teammates on Thursday night.
The Yellow-Blacks have four points and are two points behind the Rossoneri after a victory over Rijeka and a draw with Austria Vienna in the first two rounds of the Europa League. AEK are in a solid position to advance to the knockout phase, and considering Milan’s current form, they could even have a good chance to avoid a loss here. If that happens, the Greeks will find themselves with a pair of home games to play and make their own destiny. AEK lost only once in the previous 13 matches, but they won only one in the last four, so their form is also not quite convincing.
AEK played 14 games in this season so far, recording seven wins, four draws, and three defeats, with a goal difference of 20:11, which is a bit over 2.2 goals per contest on average. In seven away matches, AEK scored only four goals, and the away form is a quite concerning for Manolo Jimenez, so that’s why it would be a major boost for them if they snatch a draw at San Siro.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos is the team’s leading scorer with six goals to his name, while Petros Mantalos is following him with four on his tally. The Croatian striker Marko Livaja is the most creative individual with four assists, and these three players could create plenty of trouble to Gigi Donnarumma and Milan’s unstable defense. The centre-back Dmytro Chygrynskiy is sidelined with a hand injury and will not feature here, while Georgios Giakoumakis is out with appendicitis.
AC Milan (Ita) vs. AEK Athens (Gre) – Match Prediction
Milan is quite efficient at home, but the Greeks are a tight team, and it will not be easy for the Rossoneri to win here, but I still expect them to score a goal or two. AEK could also find the net as Milan’s defense made plenty of mistakes recently.
MY PICK: Over 2.5 goals (-125)
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