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Europa League Group Stage Climax
Thursday night is Matchday 6 in the 2015/16 Europa League Group stage, and will spell the end of participation for 24 of the 48 competing teams. Of course the qualifiers will be joined by the eight third-placed finishers in this season’s Champions League Group stages to make up the final 32, but that is for another day. Right now it’s about finishing first or second to ensure European interest continues into the new year. Of course for the best tips from the world’s best football tipsters, Betadvisor.com is the natural choice.
MoldeFK have been the surprise package in Group A and are already guaranteed to progress, but whether or not it is as Group winners will depend on their result on Thursday night away in Amsterdam against an Ajax side who, despite sitting top of the Eredivisie table, will be desperate to join their visitors in the knockout phase. The Dutch side can only do so if Fenerbahce, who are two points ahead of them in second, are defeated at home by bottom side Celtic. Only an Ajax win and a Fenerbahce defeat can prevent the Turkish side from advancing.
Ajax 1.40, Draw 4.75, Molde7.00
Fenerbahce 1.33, Draw 4.75, Celtic 9.50
Liverpool have secured progress to the knockout stages but will hope it is in the position of Group winners, and can ensure that is the case if they avoid defeat when they take on second-placed FC Sion in Switzerland. A defeat for the Swiss side coupled with a win for Rubin Kazan away in Bordeaux would see the Russian side advance courtesy of a superior head-to-head record. Bordeaux, meanwhile, have already been eliminated.
FC Sion 4.00, Draw 3.00, Liverpool 2.10
Bordeaux 2.50, Draw 3.40, Rubin Kazan 2.70
The only unresolved issue in Group C is who will top the Group, with Krasnodar and Borussia Dortmund already ensured of their progress. The Russian side currently sit first due to their superior head-to-head record against the Germans, so will be sure to finish as Group winners if they match Dortmund’s result on Thursday night. Krasnodar play away in Azerbaijan against bottom side FK Qabala, while Thomas Tuchel’s Bundesliga giants take on PAOK at the Westfalenstadion.
Borussia Dortmund 1.18, Draw 7.00, PAOL 14.00
FK Qabala 4.33, Draw 3.60, Krasnodar 1.80
Napoli have obliterated the opposition in Group D, and top the Group having scored 17 goals and only conceded one in winning every game so far. The three other sides in the Group are still battling it out for the second and final qualifying position, so it is all to play for entering Thursday evening’s contests. Legia Warsaw have the unenviable task of visiting Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo, and must therefore rank as outsiders in joining their Italian hosts in the knockout stages. That leaves FC Midtjylland and Club Brugge to fight it out in Denmark, and with a two-point advantage to their name, Midtjylland must be favourites to extend their participation in this season’ competition.
FC Midtjylland2.70, Draw 3.40, Club Brugge 2.50
Napoli 1.44, Draw 4.50, Legia Warsaw 6.50
Both Villarreal and Rapid Vienna have guaranteed their progress beyond the Group stages and it is only a matter of who will do so Group winners. The Spanish side currently sit atop due to their superior head-to-head record, and will seek to better Rapid’s result at home toDinamo Minsk when they make the trip to the Czech Republic to face Viktoria Plzen.
Viktoria Plzen 2.87, Draw 3.40, Villarreal 2.37
Rapid Vienna 1.33, Draw 5.00, Dinamo Minsk 8.50
Braga sit top of Group F and are guaranteed to progress, but whether or not that is as Group winners will depend entirely upon Thursday night’s results. Braga currently lead second-placed Marseilles by three points, so would need to lose away in Groningen and see their French rivals win away at Slovan Liberec to see their first place position usurped courtesy of an inferior head-to-head record. Liberec must beat Marseilles to qualify, as the French side currently hold a two-point advantage heading into their critical encounter.
Slovan Liberec 4.00, Draw 3.50, Marseille 1.90
FC Groningen 3.40, Draw 3.40, Braga 2.10
There is nothing left to play for in Group G as Lazio have already secured first place and Saint Etienne are assured of joining them. There is, however, the excitement of the top two facing off in France on Thursday night.
Saint Etienne 2.30, Draw 3.30, Lazio 3.10
Dnipro 1.70, Draw 3.60, Rosenborg 5.00
Group H perhaps remains the most open of all the Groups leading into Thursday night as there are still three teams with realistic chances of progression. Besiktas currently sit astride the table and know that anything but defeat in Lisbon against Sporting will guarantee their place in the knockout phase. However, a defeat, coupled with a win or draw for Lokomotiiv in Albania against Skenderbeu will mark the end of the Istanbul side’s Europa League adventure this year.
Football Tipster Key Games
Skenderbeu 15.00, Draw 5.50, Lokomotiv 1.22
Sporting 1.80, Draw 3.50, Besiktas 4.50
FC Basel are sitting comfortably safe in the knowledge that their continued participation is assured, but the same cannot be said for Fiorentina or Lech Poznan. Wins for both the Italian and Polish sides on Thursday, at home to Belenenses and Basel respectively, would see La Viola join the Swiss champions in the knockout rounds, Basel as group winners. Defeat for the Italian side, coupled with a Lech victory, would see Paolo Sousa’s side eliminated.
Fiorentina 1.20, Draw 6.00, Belenenses 15.00
Lech Poznan 2.37, Draw 3.40. FC Basel, 2.87
Tottenham have already secured their progress but must avoid defeat at home to Monaco to ensure that is as Group winners. Anderlecht will hope to join them, but they know anything less than a win at home to FC Qarabag, combined with a Monaco victory, would see the Belgian side slip out of the competition. If Tottenham lose and Anderlecht win, goal difference will play its part to see who will finish first.
Anderlecht 1.40, Draw 4.50, FK Qarabag 7.50
Tottenham 2.10, Draw 3.30, Monaco 3.50
Schalke and Sparta Prague have already sewn up the two qualification berths in Group K, but it still remains to be seen who will do so as Group winners. Schalke currently possess a two-point cushion, so Sparta must better the German side’s result on Thursday night to leapfrog them.
Football Tipster Key Games
AsterasTripolis 4.00, Draw 3.75, Schalke 04 1.83
Apoel Nicosia 3.80, Draw 3.40, Sparta Prague 1.95
Athletic are guaranteed Group L winners, and Partizan should join them in progressing barring disaster in their home game against Augsburg. The German side must win by three clear goals, or by two goals as long as they score a minimum of four.
PartizanBelgrade 3.60, Draw 3.50, Augsburg 2.00
Athletic Bilbao 1.36, Draw 5.00, AZ Alkmaar 7.50
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 17.00 GMT on 08/12/15
By: Steven Paget