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Europa League Matchday 5 Scenarios Previews And Big Game Tips

Alongside the Champions League, which we have focused upon a few times this season, we also have the new look Europa League competition taking place and this will be the focus of our article this week.

With the new and streamlined look to the Europa League, we now have a smaller number of groups, eight to be exact and a group stage that mirrors the Champions League. Also with qualification to the Europa League now tougher, with the introduction of the Europa Conference League for some teams,  this has resulted in a much higher quality competition.

This is clearly evidenced in the groups, where in almost all groups there are at least three, if not four teams in with a chance of at least qualifying, if not winning the group over the last two matchdays of the Group Stage.

You can enjoy a wide range of bets on the Europa League every week of the competition with Bet365 Sport in the UK and Europe, while American readers can find quality soccer betting available on this competition and many others with BetRivers Sportsbook.

New Look Europa League

In addition to fewer teams in the Group Stage (down from 48 to 32), the Europa League has also been altered in the knockout phase.

Now the eight Group Winners will be seeded into the Round of 16. The eight second placed teams in each group will then playoff over two legs, home and away, against the eight third-place teams from the Champions League groups for a place in that Round of 16.

From then on the tournament is a standard knockout format with two-legged ties right the way through to the final on May 18th, which is set to be hosted at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville.

Current Group Standings, Fixtures & Tips For This Week’s Games

Group A

  1. Lyon – 12 (+9)
  2. Sparta Prague – 4 (-3)
  3. Rangers – 4 (-1)
  4. Brondby – 2 (-5)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Brondby v Lyon
  • Rangers v Sparta Prague

Match Previews And Tips

Having won all of their four games so far, the only team in the Europa League to do so, Lyon have not only qualified, they have done so as Group winners, meaning that their game this week with Brondby has no bearing on their fate.

The Rangers v Sparta Prague game is the crucial one in this group, with the winner likely to finish second in the group, although if Sparta draw, then they will be in a much stronger position than Rangers as they finish against Brondby. As such, I am taking Rangers to win at 4/5 and Lyon to take a win in Denmark at 11/10.

Group B

  1. Monaco – 8 (+2)
  2. Real Sociedad – 6 (+1)
  3. PSV Eindhoven– 5 (+2)
  4. SK Sturm Graz– 1(-5)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Monaco v Real Sociedad
  • PSV Eindhoven v SK Sturm Graz

Match Previews And Tips

This is a group that could go to the last set of games to decide which two teams go through. I can see PSV winning their game with Sturm Graz, as they are 2/11 to do so with bet365 Sport. That would put the Dutch side on 8 points and mean they would be in with a chance of qualifying on the final round of games regardless of the result of the other game in the group.

The Monaco v Sociedad game is the key one here. A win for Monaco puts them through, a win for Sociedad would see them go above Monaco but they would not be confirmed as qualified and they would face a key final game in the group against PSV. I’m backing the draw between Monaco and Sociedad (23/10) and PSV to land the win at 2/11.

Group C

  1. Napoli – 7 (+5)
  2. Legia Warsaw – 6 (-4)
  3. Leicester City – 5 (0)
  4. Spartak Moscow – 4 (-1)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Spartak Moscow v Napoli (Wed)
  • Leicester City v Legia Warsaw

Match Previews And Tips

This is one of the tightest groups in the Europa League and all four teams still stand a chance of progressing into the next phase. Napoli will likely qualify if they can win in Russia against Spartak Moscow and I think that they will certainly do that (they are 8/11 to land the win).

If Leicester win or draw with Legia then Napoli are certainly through and that is the scenario I see unfurling here as I am backing Leicester to pick up maximum points against Warsaw (1/6), which would put them in second place in the group, though they then have to face Napoli in their final group game.

Group D

  1. Eintracht Frankfurt – 10 (+4)
  2. Olympiakos – 6 (+1)
  3. Fenerbahce – 5 (0)
  4. Antwerp– 1 (-5)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Eintracht Frankfurt v Antwerp
  • Olympiakos v Fenerbahce

Match Previews And Tips

A win for Frankfurt at home to the group’s bottom team Antwerp will qualify them as group winners and I can see that happening as the German side have been the best team in the group and they are the 2/5 favourites to win this game.

The Olympiakos and Fenerbahce game is another key one and if Olympiakos win the match, they clinch at least second place in the group regardless of the result in the other game. I’d back the Greek side to land the win here at 3/4.

Group E

  1. Galatasaray– 8 (+2)
  2. Lazio – 5 (+1)
  3. Marseille– 4 (0)
  4. Lokomotiv Moscow– 2 (-3)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Galatasaray v Marseille
  • Lokomotiv Moscow v Lazio

Match Previews And Tips

Both these games are crucial in Group E but Galatasaray know that if they can win, then they qualify and that is a huge incentive at home to a Marseille side that have drawn all four of their games in the competition so far and I think the draw at 12/5 is the smart bet here.

The other game sees Lazio as the favourites to land the win with the bookmakers, but I think a trip to cold Moscow is a tough one for an Italian side who are struggling a little for form in this competition and I think the home side could take a surprise win at 7/2.

Group F

  1. Braga – 9 (+4)
  2. Red Star Belgrade – 7 (+1)
  3. Midtjylland – 5 (-1)
  4. Ludogorets – 1 (-4)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Red Star Belgrade v Ludogorets
  • Midtjylland v Braga

Match Previews And Tips

I do feel that this group will be decided in the main from this set of fixtures because I think Red Star Belgrade will beat Ludogorets at home and they are 4/11 to do that with bet365 Sport. If they do win, then they will qualify for the next phase of the competition provided that Midtjylland don’t beat Braga.

I can’t see that happening as I think Braga are more than good enough to do to Denmark and pick up either a win or, more likely in my view, a point and if the draw is the right result (12/5 with bet365) then that means Braga would qualify alongside Red Star, with the final set of games deciding who tops the group.

Group G

  1. Bayer Leverkusen – 10 (+9)
  2. Real Betis – 7 (-1)
  3. Celtic – 6 (-2)
  4. Ferencvaros – 0 (-6)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic
  • Real Betis v Ferencvaros

Match Previews And Tips

My gut feeling in this group is that by the end of play on Matchday 5, both Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis will be confirmed as the two teams to qualify from the group. I expect Leverkusen to beat Celtic (1/2) and Betis to also get the better of Ferencvaros (1/5).

That would mean that with the better head to head record of the two, Leverkusen would be confirmed as the winners of the group, with Betis likely to finish second.

Group H

  1. West Ham – 10 (+7)
  2. Dinamo Zagreb – 6 (+2)
  3. Genk – 4 (-5)
  4. Rapid Vienna – 3 (-4)

Week 5 Fixtures

  • Dinamo Zagreb v Genk
  • Rapid Vienna v West Ham

Match Previews And Tips

West Ham just need a point to be assured of a place in the next phase and I think they will not only take that but the win which will also guarantee that they finish top of the group when they take on Rapid Vienna in Austria. The Hammers are 3/5 to land the win they need to top the group.

The other game is interesting but I think Zagreb is a tough place for Genk to go and get a result, so I would back the Croatian side to take the win and with it the second spot in the group behind West Ham. Zagreb are 13/10 to win the game.

Ian John

Working my way though the UK's top online poker sites (and some of the ones near the bottom as well) to bring you a first-hand take on the absolute best choices for online poker players from the UK.

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