The Europa League qualifiers reach the crescendo on Thursday as teams battle in the second leg of the play-offs to book their place in the group stages. Who will make it? Here are the Things to look for in the play-offs. Bet on the Europa League here.
Wolves to book their place in the group stage?
Wolves are in a good position to qualify for next season’s Europa League group stage for the first time following a hard-fought 3-2 win over Torino in the first leg. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men host the Italians on Thursday night at Molineux as they look to seal the deal. They are unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season but they are yet to win any of their three matches which ended as draws. They have won all five of their Europa League matches this season. They are unbeaten at home since January. That being the case, Walter Mazzarri’s men will have to really dig deep but everything points to Wolves making the group stage for the first time ever.
Strasbourg’s remarkable journey
Strasbourg’s rise from possible extinction a decade ago is one of football’s remarkable stories. They have fought back from liquidation and relegation to the fifth tier in 2011 and now, the Alsace club are edging towards Europe. They narrowly defeated last season’s semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 at home and will be looking to finish the job in Germany in the second leg. A place in the Europa League group stage would’ve been a fantasy but it is just one match away from becoming a reality. Can they stop the Germans?
Rangers face difficult home test
Rangers left Legia Warsaw with a hard-fought goalless draw last week and the Scottish side is looking to finish the job at Ibrox in the second leg. Steven Gerrard’s side kept the tie competitive away from home and had Alan McGregor to thanks after making crucial saves. Rangers are in a great position due to their home advantage but the tie is in the balance. However, they’re unbeaten in the last 12 Europa League home matches. The Polish side are also unbeaten in their last eight matches in this competition. Who will it be?
Celtic’s poor away form in the Europa League
Celtic have one foot in the group stages of the Europa League after beating Swedish side AIK 2-0 in Glasgow in the first leg. The Scottish giants now head into the second leg knowing the job is half done barring any surprise by the Swedes. The hosts have it all to do at home but will take confidence in their opponents’ poor away record in this competition. Celtic have lost three of their last five matches. Celtic have won just once away from home in this competition since 2011. Their capitulation in the Champions League against CFR Cluj a few weeks ago makes this an awkward tie for them.
Goals galore at Qarabag v Linfield
Linfield defeated Azerbaijan outfit 3-2 in the first leg in an entertaining affair in Northern Ireland. The away side have scored Over 2.5 Goals in their last five matches in all competitions while Qarabag’s last two matches have seen three or more goals scored. This tie is far from over and Linfield will feel disappointed that they conceded two away goals. That being so, this second leg encounter should be thrilling and full of goals.