The Europa League is back again this week and we’ve plumped for a fine selection of sides including AZ Alkmaar and Valencia who are all being backed to win on the night and progress to the next round.
Throw in the trio of Shakhtar Donetsk, Genk and Basel and you have the makings of a fivefold available at odds of 7/1 with Ladbrokes which equates to a return of £80 for anyone staking £10 with the bookmakers.
The Swiss giants escaped Israel with a priceless 0-0 draw and, having previously dispatched Chelsea at St Jakob-Park in the Champions League this term, should have enough to see off a Maccabi side who won just one of their three away games in the group stage and failed to score in the other two.
With Basel unbeaten in eight competitive games at home and currently on a run of six games without defeat, a home win looks assured.
Luiz Adriano’s second half equaliser at the Doosan Arena ensured Shakhtar head into the return leg in the ascendancy and given their supremacy at home, it’s hard to look beyond the Ukrainians.
Despite a Champions League group stage exit, Donetsk avoided defeat in the three fixtures played at the Donbass Arena and have lost just one of their last seven home games in Europe’s premier competition. Plzen took no points on the road in the Champions League and could be in trouble.
The Dutch side left it late in the Czech Republic with a 1-0 win sealed by an 89th minute winner from defender Nick Viergever but it should be a different story at the AFAS Stadion.
AZ picked up seven points from a possible nine at home in the group phase and head into this fixture unbeaten in their last three games played in Alkmaar. With Liberec on a four-game losing streak on the road in the Czech league, the hosts should take full advantage.
Genk may be struggling for form in the league but they remain on-course for the Europa League last-16 after a 0-0 draw away to Anzhi – a team who have lost just one of the 13 home games they have played in European competition.
Fortunately the Belgians appear to be saving their best performances for continental action having claimed two wins and a draw from the three games played at the Cristal Arena in the group stage as part of a run that has seen them lose just one of their last ten home games in the competition.
Off-the-field issues in the Ukraine appear to have already put paid to Dynamo’s Europa League charge after the Kiev giants were forced to play the opening leg of this tie in Cyprus, due to the ongoing troubles in the capital, and promptly surrendered to a 2-0 defeat.
Valencia are in good form though, having won four of their last five competitive games and look likely to finish the job in the Mestalla, a ground where they have lost just one of their last ten games – a 3-2 defeat to La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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