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Europa League Round of 32 betting preview

Europa League Round of 32 betting preview

Once maligned by bigger teams, the Europa League has earned a more serious reputation in recent years from teams and fans alike. The presence of Chelsea, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli, who know victory will now guarantee them a place in the Champions League, makes for a much stronger competition than in seasons gone by. Read on for some betting insight.

Europa League Round of 32 preview and predictions

Following the completion of the group stages, the twelve group winners, and twelve group stage runners-up, are joined by 8 teams from the Champions League who finished third in their respective group.

The draw at this stage is seeded, as no 2 teams from the same country or same group can be drawn together.

The 12 group winners and the four best third-ranked teams in the Champions League group stage are drawn against the 12 group runners-up and the remaining third-ranked teams in the Champions League group stage.

Furthermore, the group-winners and the four best third-ranked teams in the Champions League group stage must play the return leg at home.

Live Europa League Outright odds







Inter Milan




RB Salzburg




Eintracht Frankfurt         




Real Betis


Bayer 04 Leverkusen     


Sporting Lisbon


Malmo vs. Chelsea

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Swedbank Stadion

Time: 20:00 UTC

Key players: Eden Hazard, Gonzalo Higuain, Markus Rosenberg, Soren Rieks

In I first ever official meeting between the two sides, Chelsea travel to Sweden to face a Malmo side looking to become the first ever Swedish team to reach the Europa League Round of 16.

Finishing second in Group I behind Genk, Malmo are responsible for one of the biggest upsets in the Europa League already this season, after a  Gameweek 6, 1- 0 away victory in Istanbul ensured they leapfrogged over Besiktas to take second place.

Domestically, the 2017 Allsvenskan champions are unbeaten in their last eight games – though the season finished in November and won’t recommence until the end of March. Traditionally strong at home, Malmo haven’t lost a European game at home since November 2015, when they were beaten 5-0 by a rampant Paris Saint-Germain and will face a similar test against Chelsea.

Favourites for the competition, Chelsea made very easy work of the group stage, winning five and drawing one from their six games.

As a signal of their strength in comparison to others in the competition, Chelsea are nine games unbeaten in the Europa League, with the 2-2 draw at Vidi in the group stages having ended a run of eight successive wins of their victorious 2013 campaign.

Much of the build-up to this tie will likely focus on whether Maurizio Sarri will decide to deploy the likes of Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain in the two-legged affair. Even if he does not, anything other than comfortable passage for Chelsea would be considered an upset. Over 2.5 and 3 is currently available at 1.833*.

BATE Borisov vs. Arsenal

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Borisov Arena

Time: 17:55 UTC

Key players: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Igor Stasevich, Maksim Skavysh

Drawn together in last year’s group stages, BATE lost 4-2 at home and 6-0 away to Arsenal, with the North London club, who were eliminated by eventual winners Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, second favourites to win the competition this time around.

Belarusian Premier League champions for the past 13 seasons, BATE’s domestic form is good – but in recent years they have struggled against big opposition in Europe – and were beaten 3-1 away and 1-0 at home by Chelsea in the group stages before Christmas.

Much like their Premier League and London rivals Chelsea, Arsenal’s chances of progression will be greatly enhanced if Unai Emery decides to field a strong squad.

Winning the Europa League three years in a row while manager at Sevilla, Emery is clearly ready for the competition (The Gunners won five and drew once in their group) and knows it’s probably Arsenal’s best chance of securing Champions League soccer for next season. Over 2.5 and 3 is currently available at 1.869*.

FC Zurich vs. Napoli

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Stadion Letzigrund

Time: 20:00 UTC

Key players: Stephen Odey, Benjamin Kololli, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne

Swiss cup winners FC Zurich ended a sequence of three successive group stage eliminations by finishing second behind Bayer Leverkusen in Group A, with two games to spare, leaving AEK Larnaca and Ludogorets also competing for a place in the last 32.

Last reaching the knock-out stage of a European competition in 2007/08, it has been 20 years since they made it into the last 16 of a European competition, reaching the UEFA Cup third Round in 1998/99.

Domestically, Zurich’s recent form has been poor and they currently sit fourth in the Swiss Super League with just one win from their last five games.

If they are to have any hope of progressing against a much-fancied Napoli side, key players such as Nigerian international Stephen Odey and Kosovo international Benjamin Kololli will have to be at their best.

The highest-scoring third-placed team in the UEFA Champions League with nine points, Napoli lost out on second place in Group C to Liverpool on goals scored, and now enter the Europa League hoping to avenge their shock Round of 32 exit to RB Leipzig last year.

Currently second in Serie A, and with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik in their ranks, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will expect a much better Europa League showing this season around- and look well worth their 1X2 price of 1.414*.

Rapid Vienna vs. Inter Milan

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Allianz Stadion

Time: 17:55 UTC

Key players: Deni Alar, Stefan Schwab, Ivan Perisic, Mauro Icardi

Beating Rangers courtesy of an 84th minute Dejan Ljubicic goal in their last group game, Rapid Vienna railed late in Group G to qualify second behind Villarreal – with both teams finishing on 10 points.

Currently eighth in the Austrian League, Rapid Vienna’s form has been patchy of late – winning just one of their last six matches. Their last league game, which took place in December, was a 6-1 humiliation at the hands of their arch-rivals Austria Wien.

If Vienna railed late to qualify however, their opponents Inter Milan did almost exactly the opposite. Failing to win their last four Champions League group games, Inter were pipped to second place by Tottenham Hotspur, after the Italian giants could only draw 1-1 at home to PSV Eindhoven.

Despite the contrast in their recent European form however, the likes of Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi should prove much too strong for Rapid Vienna.

Currently sitting third in Serie A, and some way off leaders Juventus, Inter will view the Europa League as a big opportunity to capture major silverware this season.

Outright odds are available at 8.550*.

Fenerbahce vs. Zenit St Petersburg

Date: 12/02/2019

First leg venue: Sukru Saracoglu Stadium

Time: 17:55 UTC

Key players: Martin Skrtel, Hasan Ali Kaldirim, Artem Dzyuba, Branislav Ivanovic

After a disastrous start to the season which saw Fenerbahce sack new manager Philip Cocu in October, returning head coach Ersun Yana has added some form of stability after being appointed in December.

Drawing three and winning two of his last five games in charge, Fenerbahce were twice denied victories thanks to 90th minute goals from Bursaspor and Erzurum B Belediyespor.

Finishing second behind Dinamo Zagreb, the Turkish side’s Group D tally of 8 points was the lowest of any of the 24 qualified teams. 

Now in their 12th successive European campaign, Zenit topped Group C – which featured Slavia Prague, Bordeaux, and FC Copenhagen.

Domestically, Zenit sit at the top of the Russian League but have lost their last two games. They haven’t played since December 13th thanks to the Russian winter break.

Zenit last won the completion back in 2008, beating Rangers 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Outright odds for winning the Europa League this time around are currently available at 42.250*.

Lazio vs. Sevilla

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Stadio Olimpico

Time: 17:55 UTC

Key players: Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Wissam Ben Yedder, Jesus Navas

Lazio host Europa League specialists Sevilla , and this is one of the more evenly matched fixtures of the Round of 32, and one which could potentially offer value to bettors.

Lazio enter the Round of 32 after an underwhelming European campaign so far, which saw them lose three group games to finish second behind Eintracht Frankfurt – and just two points above Apollon Limassol.

Domestically, they currently sit eight in Serie A – having won just twice in their last ten games, drawing five.

Having won the Europa League five times, including 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16, Sevilla very much fancy the competition – and scored impressive 18 goals on their way to topping Group J.

Currently, Sevilla sit fourth in La Liga and have won just three of their last ten games. However, in recent years their post-Christmas domestic slump has normally been accompanied by domestic success.

Interestingly, despite both clubs' wealth of European experience, their paths have never crossed in a UEFA competition before.

Club Brugge vs. RB Salzburg

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Jan Breydelstadion

Time: 20:00 UTC

Key players: Ethan Horvath, Hans Vanaken, Takumi Minamino, Munas Dabour

The Round of 32 brings together Club Brugge and Salzburg for the first time in a European competition, and they meet as respective reigning champions of Belgium and Austria.

Club Brugge finished third in Group A in the Champions League behind Borussia Dortmund and Atletico, while Salzburg won six out of six to top UEFA Europa League Group B ahead of Celtic, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg.

Given the strength of their Champions League group, it’s perhaps unsurprising Club Brugge have not won any of their last nine home European games (D4 L5), since a 1-0 Europa League group stage victory against Legia Warszawa in November 2015.

However, with the help of highly-rated American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, Blauw-Zwart, as they’re also known, have kept a clean sheet in their last three European games.

Champions of Austria for the fifth year running in 2017/18, RB Salzburg reached the semi-finals of last year’s competition. Eliminating Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio, before losing to beaten finalists Marseille in the semi-finals.

Celtic vs. Valencia

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Celtic Park

Time: 20:00 UTC

Key players: Scott Sinclair, Ryan Christie, Daniel Parejo, Rodrigo

Scraping through Group B, Celtic finished nine points behind group winners RB Salzburg and needed a late Rosenborg goal against RB Leipzig to send them through.

Champions of Scotland for seven seasons in a row, Celtic’s domestic form has waned this season when compared to their usual high standards, as they find themselves just six points above Rangers, and only eight points above Aberdeen.

As a result, Brendan Rogers has signed three players in the winter transfer window, forward Oliver Burke from West Brom, USA international Timothy Weah from Paris Saint-Germain, and Ivory Coast International striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo from Dunajská Streda.

Unbeaten at this stage in the Europa League, Valencia lost twice without scoring against Juventus in Champions League Group H, but took four points off both Manchester United and Young Boys, beating each at home and drawing away.

After a poor start domestically, Valencia are much improved of late – losing just two of their last ten games to rise to seventh in La Liga – and are available at 2.120*.

Galatasaray vs. Benfica

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Turk Telekom Arena

Time: 17:55 UTC

Key players: Eren Derdiyok, Badou Ndiaye, Haris Seferovic, Jonas

The only Europa League Round of 32 fixture to feature two teams who come from the Champions League, Galatasaray vs. Benfica is a heavyweight meeting between the most decorated clubs of Turkey and Portugal respectively.

Both finishing third in their respective groups, Galatasaray behind Porto and Schalke in Group D, where they picked up four points, and Benfica behind Bayern Munich and Ajax in Group E, having collected seven, odds of a draw in the first leg currently stand at 3.200*.


Pinnacle offers the highest limits and best odds all round

Other Europa League Round of 32 fixtures:

Sporting Lisbon vs. Villarreal

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Jose Alvalade Stadium

Time: 20:00 UTC

Rennes vs. Real Betis

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Roazhon Park

Time: 17:55 UTC

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Shakhtar Stadium

Time: 20:00 UTC

Krasnodar vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Krasnodar Stadium

Time: 17:55 UTC

Olympiacos vs. Dynamo Kyiv

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Karaiskakis Stadium

Time: 17:55 UTC

Viktoria Plzen vs. Dinamo Zagreb

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Doosan Arena

Time: 20:00 UTC

Slavia Praha vs. Genk

Date: 14/02/2019

First leg venue: Eden Arena

Time: 17:55 UTC

*Odds subject to change




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Shane Donnelly
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