We enter the decisive fifth matchday of the Europa League Group Stage this Thursday and there is still so much to be settled across Europe.
I’ve crunched the numbers and picked out four fixtures to watch with an ACCA to round it all off. We start off in Salzburg for the Red Bull Derby.
Salzburg vs. RB Leipzig
Salzburg are all but through to the round of 32 after picking up the maximum 12 points from their four matches. Their former Red Bull namesakes from Leipzig need a result here to keep pace with Celtic (the two sit level on six points).
The Austrian side won all six of their group matches last season and surprised everyone by going all the way to the semi finals. If they win the next two matches, they will become the first team to win all six group games for two consecutive seasons.
Considering all that, it’s a big surprise that Ralf Rangnick’s RB Leipzig side are the favourites. They lost the reverse of this fixture on home soil, after all, and have been inconsistent of late. Salzburg are yet to taste defeat this season and it makes me confident in backing a home double chance.
Fenerbahce vs. Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb have already qualified for the knockout phase and it is the first time that they have ever made it past the group stage of a continental competition.
Fenerbahce sit second in the group after a pair of 2–0 wins on home soil, however, their form back in Turkey is another thing entirely.
The 19-time Turkish champions are one place above the relegation zone after registering just three wins from 13 games and the latest defeat came at the hands of Trabzonspor at the weekend.
Zagreb also suffered defeat at the weekend, to Rijeka, however, it brought to an end a seven-game winning streak away from home. Even so, the visitors’ confidence will be sky high compared to Fenerbahce and the double chance odds offer excellent value once more.
Frankfurt vs. Marseille
After a torrid start to the season it has been nothing but positives for Frankfurt since. It’s a contrast to last year’s beaten finalists Marseille, who are playing for nothing but pride this Thursday after earning one point from their opening four matches.
The Bundesliga side’s win over Augsburg at the weekend was their ninth in 10 matches and their front four of Filip Kostic, Ante Rebic, Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller are in frightening form. Jovic and Haller have scored 19 goals between them in that aforementioned 10 match unbeaten run.
OM, by comparison, have been hit and miss all season and conceded 20 goals in their nine away games in all competitions. With a tricky trip to Nantes coming up at the weekend it remains to be seen just how seriously they will take this game.
Some will say the same of Frankfurt having already qualified, but they are in a direct battle with Lazio to avoid facing a Champions League dropout in the next round. A home win looks a banker.
Apollon Limassol vs. Lazio
Staying in Group H for my final tip, Lazio will go out in search of a win in order to put pressure on Frankfurt in top spot ahead of their showdown in Rome in a fortnight’s time.
Limassol, like Marseille, have no such incentive to play for and would be considered the rank underdogs, despite playing at home, regardless of that fact. It is to my surprise then that the hosts aren’t further out in the odds having won just two of their last five home games in all competitions.
Lazio don’t really do upsets, either in terms of winning or losing this season. Their four league defeats have come at the hands of Juventus, Napoli, Inter and Roma, and they have won every match when the clear favourite. That is the case this week too, however, they offer enough value to add to an ACCA in an away win in Cyprus.
Recommended Europa League ACCA Summary
Back Salzburg Double Chance @ 4/5
Back Dinamo Zagreb Double Chance @ 8/11
Back Eintracht @ 8/11
Back Lazio @ 8/11
Total Odds: 8.2/1
You can back this accumulator with me by downloading BetBull here and then following my profile martinlaurence.
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