The Europa League Group D that features AC Milan (Italy), AEK Athens (Greece), Austria Vienna (Austria), and Rijeka (Croatia) is next on the menu so let’s break it down. The Italian side holds the edge currently with eight points earned while AEK stands behind with two points less. The Austrians and the Croatians are below the next-stage advancement line but they still have solid chances to secure some European soccer matches during the spring of 2018. This is one of the most interesting bunches because all four teams are ranked under five-point difference.
AC Milan (Ita) vs. Austria Vienna (Aut)
Three-Way: 1: AC Milan -263; X: +541 Draw; 2: Austria Vienna +1038 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread -1.5: AC Milan -105; Austria Vienna +118
Total +3: Over -130; Under +125
The “Rossoneri” really improved their roster during the last offseason and they had some big goals before the season started but a couple of months later it looks like they didn’t get the right guys on the right positions. Still, they are top ranked in their group in the Europa League with eight points and no defeats (5-2 goal difference). Even a draw here would secure the advancement to the eight-finals but we know that AC Milan is not what they used to be lately and we’ll not go ahead of ourselves.
In Italians Serie A they rank at No. 7 spot with 19 points after 13 matches and a 6-1-6 record. Their goal difference is 19-18 and 54% of their matches had over 2.5 goals in total. They are coming off from a 2:1 road loss by the bitter rival Napoli but having in mind both teams form lately, this result presented no surprise. Andre Silva tops the team in scoring in Europe League with four goals while Hakan Calhanoglu collected team-high two assists.
Andrea Conti (cruciate ligament), Hachim Mastour (suspension) and Jherson Vergara (suspension) are out for the Thursday’s game.
The Austrian representatives in the competition have been relatively solid so far but they are still far from securing the advancement to the Europa League eighth-finals. They rank third with four points earned and 8-11 goal difference thanks to a 5:1 demolition they suffered at home by their next opponent in the first round. Some reason for optimism comes from the fact that the Italians are not playing their best soccer right now as they’ve recorded five losses in last eight games in the Italian Serie A.
In the Austrian Bundesliga squad is mediocre with 19 points after 15 rounds and they are currently winless in last five games (four of those were losses), coming off from another home loss against Admira (2:3). They are 5-4-6 and their goal difference is 26-25 while 73% of their overall matches had over 2.5 goals in total so far. Cristoph Monschein and Dominik Prokop top the team in scoring in the Europa League with two goals each while Felipe Pires and Raphael Holzhauser collected team-high three assists each.
Robert Almer (cruciate ligament), Lucas Venuto (cruciate ligament), Vesel Demaku (shoulder), Alexander Grunwald (hyaline cartilage), Cristoph Martschinko (cruciate ligament), Ruan (torn tendon), Florian Klein (metatarsal fracture) and Heiko Westermann (knee) are all out for Thursday.
AC Milan (Ita) vs. Austria Vienna (Aut) – Match Prediction
This could be a potential “landmine” matchup especially if you’re aiming for the AC Milan win so tread carefully. I think that it could end up with a draw but at least one goal scored by both teams makes perfect sense. Both squads are struggling right now in their domestic competitions and it’s hard to predict what will come out of this.
MY PICK: Both teams score YES (-111)
AEK Athens (Gre) vs. Rijeka (Cro)
Three-Way: 1: AEK Athens -123; X: +286 Draw; 2: Rijeka +465 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread -0.5: AEK Athens -135; Rijeka +131
Total +2.5: Over +127; Under -125
The Greek team that is actually not Olympiacos neither Panathinaikos which is a surprise for itself is on a good path of advancing to the eighth-finals of one European competition as they rank second in the Europa League group D right now with six points earned and no losses. Another interesting fact is that they still don’t have a win at home (two draws) but this could be the round in which they finally accomplish that having in mind the fact that they’ll face arguably the weakest team in the bunch at the moment.
In this season very interesting Greek Super League, the team ranks at the pole position with 21 points after 11 rounds and a 6-3-2 record. Their goal difference is 14-7 and 82% of their overall duels had under 2.5 goals in total. Team is undefeated in last three rounds and they are coming off from a 1:1 road draw against Panathinaikos. Their leading scorer in Europa League is Marko Livaja with two goals while Sergio Araujo has one assist so far.
Petros Mantalos (cruciate ligament), Uros Cosic (ankle), Jakob Johansson (knee) and Sergio Araujo (red card suspension) are ruled out for the upcoming showdown.
The Croatian champions are not having a great season in the international soccer scene so far. After being eliminated in the UEFA Champions League play-off round they were one of the favorites in the Europa League group D but after four rounds they rank at the bottom with only three points earned and three defeats including couple of very disturbing ones (high difference losses) . Still, two wins in last two weeks of play would secure the advancement to the eight-finals but that’s much easier said than done.
In Croatian Premier League they rank at No. 4 spot at the moment with 26 points after 16 rounds and 8-2-6 record. Their goal difference is 30-15 and 56% of their total matches had over 2.5 goals in total. Team is going through a tough period as they’re coming off from a goalless home draw against Inter Zapresic that ended the four-game losing streak. Team’s top scorers in the Europa League are Josip Elez and Mario Gavranovic with two goals each.
Josip Misic (red card suspension) is unavailable for Thursday.
AEK Athens (Gre) vs. Rijeka (Cro) – Match Prediction
Rijeka squad is obviously in a period of underperforming but they could awake from their sleep in any time. Still, I don’t think that they possess enough firepower to take down the Greeks at the moment, or even secure a draw. Home team win is my best guess here and I would also go under in total.
MY PICK: AEK Athens (-123)
Additional pick: Under 2.5 goals (-125)
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