November 28, 2018

UEFA Europa League Match Previews – 29th November Thursday

Red Bull v RB Leipzig

Two teams are competing to succeed for the knockout stage of the Europa League on Thursday. Red Bull Salzburg made an impressive start to their Europa League campaign, coming out victorious in all 4 of their group fixtures so far this season and an accomplishment only Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea have achieved so far. Salzburg are already secured in going to the knockout stages of the competition and the top spot seems to be safeguarded too. If they manage to keep things secure in their line of defense for their two remaining matches, they might finish their campaign at the top of the table.

RB Leipzig, on the other hand, are currently under-performing based on their own standard so far in the group fixtures. However, they still have a good chance of advancing to the knockout stages if they manage to win Thursday’s match. They were able to pick up a total of 6 points from their previous 4 games and are currently on level with Celtic on the standings.

Salzburg are on a hit this season, gaining a massive 12 points in their domestic league in 15 matches. They will come into this match with a tally of 5 back-to-back victories. They are currently undefeated in their previous 32 games throughout the competition. Things are also looking up for them in the Europa League, managing to pick up a perfect 12 points, overpowering Rosenborg, Celtic and RB Leipzig in a 3-0, 5-2 and 3-2 thrashing respectively. They are unbeaten in 11 of their home fixtures in the competition and came out victorious in 9 of those.

RB Leipzig have played a total of 8 away fixtures in the competition but they only won just 2 of those. However, they were able to share a draw against lesser teams like Hacken, Uni Craoiva and Zorya. The one thing these two sides have in common is their ability to score goals.

Eintracht v Marseille

Eintracht Frankfurt will welcome Marseille on Thursday night for their Europa League clash. Frankfurt have already been qualified for the final stages of the Europa League following their fantastic performance in their first few fixtures, gathering 4 victories in 4 of their total fixtures. Frankfurt boast a total of 12 points, scoring 11 goals and conceding just 4. They also managed to come out victorious in every European fixture this season. They’ve been continuously on the go this season and should be expected to triumph on Thursday’s match against Marseille.

In the meantime, Marseille are completely in an awful run at the moment. Their Europa League campaign has been very disappointing. They are running out of fixtures to be able to proceed to the knockout stage following the three losses they encountered in their opening four group fixtures. However, they could try to limit Frankfurt’s chances of finishing in the top if they manage to defeat them on Thursday.

Marseille just came out of a disappointing performance where they lost against four pretty strong teams with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Montpellier and Lazio, twice. However, they managed to bounce back in a series of victories that came from Dijon and Amiens. They are not the most threatening opponents but manager Rudi Garcia seemed pleased that his team was able to score goals and bag 12 shots on target in these matches. They are hoping to be consistent in their form in the match against Frankfurt.

Frankfurt have been in a tremendous form as of the moment and their confidence seems to be spilling over. Marseille were only able to win two of their previous seven away fixtures while Frankfurt came out victorious in five of theirs.  The latter currently have a tally of 20 goals in these five fixtures and should be looking to add more goals to the list as they meet with Marseille.

Chelsea v PAOK

In their first ever participation in the Europa League group stage, Chelsea will host Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki in their fifth group fixtures at Stamford Bridge on Thursday. Chelsea were able to progress to the first knockout stage with minimal trouble, coming out triumphant in four matches prior to the visit of the Greek side. Chelsea may be one of the favourites at the moment but they have won just three of their previous eight Premier League matches this season.

The Blues were actually comfortably beaten by Tottenham Hotspur last weekend in what was a thrilling 3-1 win. This result pushed Chelsea to fourth place in the Premier League standings. However, in their recently concluded 1-0 win against BATE during the last round of the Europa League fixtures, they were able to pick up their fourth back-to-back victories in the group stage fixtures which put them 6 points clear from 2nd placed Vidi and 9 clear from PAOK in the 3rd. Chelsea may have failed to qualify for the knockout stages but they managed to secure a spot in the Group L.

Maurizio Sarri will want to keep his squad fresh and confident prior to their match against PAOK but it’s up to the Greek side if they will give the England side a chance to be successful on Thursday. In the meantime, PAOK was able to beat BATE in a 4-1 away fixture in the Europa League but lost in three of their other matches. However, they only lost by one goal in two of these three losses.

PAOK is currently placed at the bottom of the group standings with just three points to their name from their previous four matches. Aside from that, PAOK has never scored a single goal against the English outfit. Chelsea, the lone unbeaten team in Europe before they saw their streak come to an end against the Spurs, no longer has that reputation.

By @EliaasMJ

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