Steve McClaren will tell his FC Twente players to be mentally ready for a reality check when they take on Hannover 96 in Thursday’s Uefa Europa League Group L clash (Twente 11/10, draw 5/2, Hannover 96 9/4 – bet365 – 90 minutes).
The Eredivisie club have made a 100 per cent to the new season in the Netherlands, winning all five games, but the Bundesliga side have been in equally impressive form and have not lost a competitive fixture since a tight 1-0 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen in April this year.
Far from shouting from the rooftops about his side’s scintilating start to the new season, McClaren is mindful of the fact his players have yet to be tested by some of the league’s big guns (Twente 5/1 – Eredivisie outright with bet365).
Hannover 96 have won four Europa League games on the bounce, scoring 15 goals, and McClaren is certain his players are in for a difficult night at De Grolsch Veste.
“We have got five wins from five matches,” he said after Saturday’s 6-2 triumph at Willem II.
“We have tougher tasks ahead in the coming weeks. The real tests are still to come. Then we will know where we stand.”
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Europa League | Football Betting News | September 20, 2012 13:14 |
Andre Villas-Boas has described the Europa League as a “prestigious competition” and is focused on going far in it as he admits lifting the trophy next May would “be something really special” for Tottenham (14/1 – Outright with bet365).
The Portuguese coach led Porto to glory in the 2010 Europa League so is well aware just how important a tournament it is ahead of Spurs’ first group clash against Italian side Lazio at White Hart Lane on Thursday (Spurs 5/6, Lazio 16/5, draw 13/5 – bet365 match prices).
AVB’s men go into the match in better shape as they finally got their first victory of the Premier League season over the weekend, at the fourth attempt, when they ran out convincing 3-1 winners at Reading.
Spurs, who are also due to face Greek side Panathinaikos and Maribor of Slovenia in Group J, have not won a major European trophy since they lifted the Europa League’s predecessor, the UEFA Cup, in 1984 and Villas-Boas admits he will be taking the competition seriously.
“This competition is very important,” he said. “It’s a tough competition, you have to play 15 games before you reach the final, so it’s hard and strenuous and the best teams out of the Champions League are playing.
“It gives access to the European Super Cup and, for me, I always thought it was a prestigious competition and it should be promoted like that. After the Cup Winners’ Cup disappeared, it is not only about the Champions League.
“If we can win a trophy, that represents a lot for Tottenham Hotspur’s history as well and would be something really special.”
Despite making it clear he will be taking the Europa League seriously it is likely AVB will make several changes to the side that won at the Madejski Stadium ahead of another tough clash in the league on Sunday against London rivals QPR.
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Europa League | Football Betting News | September 18, 2012 15:17 |
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll has been left out of the squad for their Europa League clash with FC Gomel in the qualifiers on Thursday (Gomel 8/1, draw 7/2, Liverpool 4/11 – Match Betting with bet365).
The Merseyside outfit have stated the player is suffering from a groin injury and has not been fit enough to make the trip to Belarus for the third-round qualifier.
However, Carroll has been strongly linked with a move away from Liverpool this summer, having failed to make an impact at Anfield and newly appointed manager Brendan Rodgers has intimated the player is not in his plans for the future.
Both the striker’s former club Newcastle United and West Ham United have been linked with a move for the England international, who will be watching as Liverpool get set to take on Gomel, who finished in third place in the Belarusian Premier League.
The Reds (16/1 Europa League outright with bet365) will be lacking some options in attack, with Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez and Carroll all unavailable for the Europa League encounter.
However, summer signing Fabio Borini may get his first chance to play in a competitive game for his new club, having joined from AS Roma last month.
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Europa League | Football Betting News | August 2, 2012 13:31 |
Liam Buckley has predicted a “helter skelter” return leg when St Patrick’s welcome Siroki Brijeg to Richmond Park in the Europa League on Thursday (St Patrick’s 10/11, draw 12/5, Siroki Brijeg 3/1 – 90 minutes bet365).
The Irish Premier League side took a 12th-minute lead and held a numerical advantage for over half of the first leg when the home side were reduced to 10 men.
Saints’ hopes of an away win were shattered when Wagner scored a stoppage-time equaliser and now the focus is on Buckley’s men to get the job done.
A glamour tie against Hannover 96 awaits the winners of Thursday’s game and Buckey does not want his players to squander a golden opportunity to mix it with the big boys (St Patrick’s 5/1 – Ireland Premier Division outright bet365).
He told the official club website: “At 1-1, the game is back in the mix. They had 10 men for most of last week, so they struggled for large parts of the game.
“However, I’ve no doubt that they see themselves getting through the tie so it’s going to be a helter skelter game with a lot at stake for both clubs.
“But if we perform like we did last week, we’ll be right in the tie. We have the away goal and a good defensive record this year, a clean sheet and we’re through. So hopefully we can get through and play Hannover 96 next week.”
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Europa League | Football Betting News | July 26, 2012 10:55 |
Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has warned his team-mates not to let great performances against Manchester United and Schalke be in vain by losing the Europa League final (Atletico Madrid 7/5, Bilbao 19/10, draw 12/5 – full time result with bet365).
The Basque club have upset the odds on numerous occasions to reach Wednesday’s final in Bucharest, dumping out the likes of United and Schalke on the way.
The 3-2 win at the home of the English champions was one of the highlights of the tournament so far, with their 4-2 success in Germany not far behind.
Bilbao also overturned a first-leg deficit in the semi-finals to reach the final and are now within touching distance of their first European trophy.
Standing in their way are compatriots Atletico Madrid, who are looking for their second Europa League crown in three seasons having won the tournament in 2010.
The game is likely to be a tale of the two clubs’ respective star strikers, with Bilbao’s Llorente and Madrid’s Radamel Falco having propelled their clubs to the final with their goals.
For Llorente (6/1 first goalscorer with bet365) Wednesday’s game represents a huge opportunity to write himself in the history books of the club he has supported all his life and has called on his team-mates not to let the chance to become Bilbao folklore pass.
“We have really had a great season in Europe, and that makes us even more determined to win the final,” the Spain striker told reporters.
“By winning it, we want to make sure the incredible win at Old Trafford will not only be remembered as a great night during a positive European campaign which we didn’t win.”
Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales says his side’s Europa League semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid is still alive despite Los Che trailing 4-2 from last week’s first leg (Valencia 5/6, Atletico 16/5, draw 13/5 – second leg prices with bet365).
Atletico are favourites to see off their fellow Spanish opponents as they hold a two-goal advantage, but the two away goals also mean Valencia can progress with a 2-0 second-leg success (Valencia 5/2 to qualify with bet365, Atletico 2/7).
Canales is well aware just how tough a task they face to overturn the deficit but he insists if they show the right attitude and desire they can progress to the final, while he also says keeping a clean sheet will be vital.
“It is going to be as important to score goals as it is to keep a clean sheet,” he told the Valencia website.
“The game will be tough and we have a difficult task ahead, but we have to go out onto the pitch with all the desire in the world.”
Canales, who has impressed on a two-season loan from Real Madrid, admits Valencia turned in one of their poorest performances of the season in the first leg and is sure a repeat is not on the cards at the Mestalla.
“We had one of our worst games of the year in the first leg, whilst Atletico had one of their best,” he added.
“The tie is still alive, our aim is to get to the final and we know that this requires winning a very hard game and giving all that we have.”
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Europa League | Football Betting News | April 23, 2012 16:18 |
Atletico Madrid are the 3/1 favourites to win the Europa League with bet365 for the second time after Friday’s quarter-final draw pitted them against Hannover (16/1), while Athletic Bilbao (10/3) must tackle Schalke (11/2).
The rojiblancos eased into the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Besiktas in Turkey on Thursday night, which took them through 6-1 on aggregate.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who scored the second, is bidding to pick up his second straight winners medal after starring for the Porto side that won the Europa League under former boss Andre Villas-Boas last season.
Atletico, who beat Fulham in the 2010 final, are in eighth spot in La Liga – one place and one point behind Athletic Bilbao – who celebrated long into the night following their 5-2 aggregate victory over Manchester United.
Bilbao have the slightly tougher job of overcoming Schalke, who lie three places higher and are twelve points better off in the Bundesliga.
Valencia (7/2) will face Dutch opposition again after they were paired with AZ Alkmaar (16/1) while Metalist Kharkiv’s (14/1) reward for winning in Greece to oust in-form Olympiakos is a two-legged clash with Sporting Lisbon (10/1) – who just held off Manchester City’s late comeback in the second leg.
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Europa League | Football Betting News | March 16, 2012 14:53 |
Olympiakos (5/6 in Match Betting with Bet365) have racked up ten consecutive clean sheets going into Thursday’s Europa League last 16 second leg tie against Metalist Kharkiv (7/2, Draw 12/5) in Greece.
Ernesto Valverde’s are among the most in-form sides around after claiming their fifth European win on the bounce in last week’s 1-0 victory in the Ukraine.
And Olympiakos, who finished their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with two straight wins – 1-0 at Marseille and 3-1 at home to Arsenal, have not conceded a goal since January 22 – a run of ten matches and over 900 minutes of football.
However, it is not a totally defensive mindset that is helping Olympiakos achieve their reputation as being hard to beat, according to captain Vassilis Torossidis.
“There has been a change in the team’s mentality, a fierce determination,” Torossidis told UEFA.com. “We really go for it in every match, whether we are up against big names or theoretically smaller teams, at home or away. I hope we can keep this frame of mind, because the results we have been getting add to the prestige of the team.”
Metalist had been the Europa League’s top scorers with 23 goals in eight games since the start of the group stage, going into last week’s first-leg clash, but their trail went cold against Valverde’s side – who won thanks to David Fuster’s strike.
“In order to keep ten clean sheets in a row, a team needs – above all – to have luck on their side,” admitted the Greek international Torossidis. “It is also the product of hard, collective work, not just by the guys at the back. Everyone who has played, up front, in midfield or in defence, has helped to achieve this amazing statistic.”
Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted at minimal changes as Manchester United (7/5 in Full Time Result with Bet365) bid to overturn a 3-2 first-leg deficit away to Athletic Bilbao (9/5, Draw 5/2)in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Red Devils boss is without Phil Jones (flu), Anderson (hamstring) and Nani (knock) from the squad on duty at Old Trafford last week when Athletic upset the odds to put themselves in the driving seat.
“I have no option tomorrow [to make changes] because Jones is out and Smalling is not 100 per cent ready, he will only be ready for the bench. So I will play Rafael at right-back with Rio and Evans as centre-backs. There may be one or two changes in terms of the midfield composition.”
Tom Cleverley (16/1 First Goalscorer) could be in contention for a start at the San Mames after successfully negotiating the last 20 minutes as a substitute against West Brom on Sunday while Antonio Valencia is back in the squad after an absence.
Ryan Giggs (16/1) may replace Paul Scholes (16/1) in the centre but Michael Carrick (25/1), who started the first leg on the bench, should keep his place after a fine display against the Baggies.
Ferguson will expect his team, whatever the selection, to match the incredible work ethic that the visitors showed at Old Trafford – a record-breaking effort, according to the veteran United boss.
“It was an outstanding performance from them,” he said.
“Not just in terms of ability but energy as well. They had the highest stats in terms of distance run of any opposition team at Old Trafford for the last 10 years. They’re an emerging team who I think will do very well in the coming few years.”
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Europa League | Football Betting News | 18:40 |
Marcelo Bielsa will tell his Athletic Bilbao players not to stand back and admire Manchester United but prove they have earned the right to mix it with the Europa League big-guns (Manchester United 1/2 draw 3/1 Athletic Bilbao 6/1 – bet365 match prices).
The two clubs have only met once before – in a two-legged affair over 50 years ago which saw Sir Matt Busby’s side progress 8-3 on aggregate after a 3-0 return-leg win at adopted home Maine Road – but Thursday’s game at Old Trafford represents a massive step up for Los Leones.
Athletic’s 14 games against English sides reads W3 D4 L7 (W0 D1 L6 in England) but the San Mames club have reached the round of 16 for the third time since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage.
Bielsa is hoping the likes of influential stars Markel Susaeta, Iker Muniain and Fernando Llorente can give the Bilbao side a chance of an upset back on home soil, where they have collected three wins and a draw from four games in Europe this season (Athletic Bilbao 16/1 – Europa League outright bet365).
“We’re very proud and full of hope and excitement,” said the Argentinian.
“Taking on this Manchester United side, with what they’ve achieved, the great players they have, and the man responsible for getting them where they are, represents the highest level of competition for us.”
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Europa League | Football Betting News | March 8, 2012 13:54 |