Europa League: Thursday Night Fever

Job Half Done

After Rangers’ stunning victory in Germany last weekend, Borussia Dortmund’s previous status as Europa League favourites is no more and with the Marco Rose’s men having it all to do this evening, it is set to make for a fantastic night at Ibrox.

One that will either see the blue half of Glasgow proceed to the knockout phase, or their Bundesliga counterparts overturn a two-goal deficit and if it is to be the latter, it will have to be without the services of Erling Haaland.

With the Norwegian hitman missing the first leg due to injury, there were hopes in the Dortmund camp that he would be available for tonight. However, with the striker not getting on the flight to Glasgow, those hopes will have been dashed.

Which means Rangers’ task has got slightly easier and manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst will no doubt be delighted that his players do not have to deal with the threat of the 21-year-old. Then again, there will be plenty of other attacking threats on show in Glasgow. 

Admittedly those threats were not quite as dangerous as they could have been before, but seven days is a long time in football and with a clear objective in mind, the visitors will now look to make things very uncomfortable for Rangers.

Of course, a 4-2 first leg lead for Rangers is not something to be ignored and with one foot in the next round, tonight will be all about getting the job done. With that said, backing Borussia Dortmund to qualify at odds of 5/2 with bet365 might just be worth your consideration as well. 

The Maradona Derby – Part 2 

With Barcelona and Napoli playing out a stalemate last week – one that was also tipped on this very website, it means their Europa League knockout phase playoff tie is very much in the balance and in just a few hours, this football seesaw will be pointing in only one direction.

Because once again the two teams that are strongly linked to a famous Argentine will do battle and with the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium playing host to this skirmish, there is no more apt place for competition to unfold.

One that will see either hosts Napoli or visitors Barcelona advance and with the Catalan outfit now starting to find their feet under Xavi, success in Naples may also see their outright tournament odds shorten.

Going into tonight’s meeting, Barcelona are in fine domestic fettle and this is courtesy of going unbeaten in their last nine league outings, a current run which is subsequently the second longest in the division.

While when looking at their Italian counterparts, Napoli have just gone off the boil in recent weeks and although they were at the summit of Serie A, a 1-1 draw away at Cagliari has knocked Luciano Spaletti’s men off their perch.

In terms of this upcoming encounter, it could also be another cagey affair like last Thursday and although I would plump for Barcelona to eventually qualify, I also like the look of a halftime draw at odds of 11/10 with bet365.