Preview: 2015/16 UEFA Europa League – Group Stage
AFC Ajax 55%
Celtic FC 45%
Fenerbahçe SK 80%
Molde FK 20%
This is a very interesting Group with some very historical teams with a glorious tradition, so there will be great matches for the fans. Anyway both Celtic and Ajax have seen better days in the past, so this Group isn’t too difficult, even if Fenerbahçe from Pot C raised its level.
The club from Istanbul has a quite strong squad and could even have the potential to win this Competition, if everything went smoothly, so they should qualify without big troubles.
Ajax and Celtic should fight for the second place, with the Dutch team slightly favorite in our opinion.
Molde will collect few points and could make other teams drop decisive points for qualification: if Celtic and Ajax stopped eachothers, the Norwegian team could even have something to say for the second place.
FC Rubin Kazan 65%
FC Liverpool 60%
FC Girondins de Bordeaux 60%
FC Sion 15%
A quite hard Group, very difficult to predict: a lot will depend on Liverpool’s attitude and on how seriously they will take this Competition.
Rubin Kazan is a quite solid team and maybe they’re the team with few more chances to advance, while Bordeaux and Liverpool could be very unpredictable: the English team is stronger, but we can’t see them as clear favorites over the French one.
Almost no chances for Sion.
Borussia Dortmund 90%
PAOK FC 40%
FC Krasnodar 45%
Gabala FK 25%
Not a simple group, Borussia Dortmund should win it, but for the second place the race is quite open: PAOK and FC Krasnodar should fight for it quite closely. If I had to bet 1 euro, maybe I’d put it on the Russian team.
Gabala FK probably won’t qualify, but they’ll be quite hard to defeat and they will collect some points, and could decide the race for second place.
SSC Napoli 70%
Club Brugge KV 45%
Legia Warszawa 45%
FC Midtjylland 40%
This could be a not very strong, but quite balanced Group.
Napoli didn’t start well in Serie A and their new Manager will face an European campaign for the first time in his career, despite not being young (this is his second season in Italian top tier): will he be able to manage properly the mid-week matches ?
Napoli can be defeated by all of the other Group D members, but the same is for the other teams as well, so finally Napoli’s strongest squad should prevail.
Legia, usually very unpredictable, and Club Brugge didn’t start the Season very well too: they should fight for the second place quite closely, but FC Midtjylland, that instead is performing quite well in the Danish league, could qualify as well, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise.
We are quite curious to know if the “statistical” management of FCM will work properly in Europa League as well.
Villarreal CF 80%
FC Viktoria Plzeň 50%
SK Rapid Wien 45%
FC Dinamo Minsk 25%
Villarreal will qualify. Viktoria Plzen and Rapid Wien should fight quite closely for the second place, but Dinamo Minsk, that could collect 5-6 points, couldn’t be already out.
SC Braga 50%
FC Slovan Liberec 50%
FC Groningen 35%
This is one of the weakest group, maybe the weakest.
Despite not beginning Ligue 1 very well and changing a lot of players during the Summer, OM should be still the strongest squad and should qualify, but they have not to underestimate their opponents.
For the other qualifying place, the race among Braga, Slovan Liberec and Groningen will be very tight and balanced.
We are not sure how to evaluate Braga, back in an UEFA GS after 2 years, and Groningen, at the first UEFA GS in their history, not including Intertoto Cup (anyway Dutch mid-table teams aren’t performing very well recently).
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 40%
SS Lazio 55%
AS Saint-Étienne 55%
Rosenborg BK 50%
A very balanced and quite difficult Group: anything can happen.
Dnipro lost few important players and we don’t think they’ll be able to repeat last amazing European season (EL Finalist), while Lazio is a quite unpredictable team with a Manager that has never faced a GS before and the mid-week match could cause him few troubles.
ASSE has performed quite well in Ligue 1 for three years, but not so well in last two European campaing (a UEL PO and an UEL GS eliminations), while Rosenborg is dominating the Norwegian league, will win it quite soon and will be able to focus just on EL, so they may have good chances to qualify.
RBK is one of the two teams (Gabala FK being the other one) that started from UEL First Round.
I’d risk a bet on Saint-Etienne and Rosenborg.
Sporting CP 60%
Beşiktaş JL 65%
FC Lokomotiv Moskva 55%
KF Skënderbeu Korçë 20%
A quite difficult and balanced Group: Sporting CP, Besiktas and Lokomotiv have almost equal chances to qualify, but our favorite is Besiktas.
Skënderbeu Korçë is already happy to be here, they probably won’t advance, but they are a solid teams and they’ll collect few points.
FC Basel 1893 50%
ACF Fiorentina 75%
KKS Lech Poznan 45%
CF Os Belenenses 30%
Not a difficult Group: Fiorentina should qualify without many troubles, while Lech Poznan and Basel should fight for the second place, with the Swiss team a little bit favorite because one month ago they eliminated Lech Poznan in CL Third Qualifying Round, but they look a little bit weaker than in last seasons.
Belenenses is not easy to predict, considering that they played in Europe just once since 1990: they could both qualify or end on the bottom with very few points.
Paulo Sousa is already back to Basel: he faced them 4 times in 4 years, managing them last Season.
Tottenham Hotspur FC 65%
RSC Anderlecht 55%
AS Monaco 55%
Qarabağ FK 25%
This is one of the hardest Groups, maybe the hardest.
Tottenham has the strongest squad, but they don’t always take this competition too seriously, while Anderlecht is a solid, quite regular, team and can always cause troubles.
AS Monaco is quite difficult to evaluate, they changed a lot and have a quite young squad, plus a very skilled Manager, while Qarabag should be the weakest time, but they have already showed that they are an easy opponent for nobody.
We wouldn’t be too shocked to see Tottenham out.
FC Schalke 04 90%
APOEL FC 35%
AC Sparta Praha 50%
Asteras Tripoli FC 25%
Schalke 04 should qualify without many troubles, while for the second place we’d say Sparta more than APOEL or Asteras.
Athletic Bilbao FC 80%
FK Partizan 30%
Athletic should top this Group, despite starting La Liga poorly, while for the second place it could be a balanced battle between Augsburg and AZ. Normally the fifth placed in Bundesliga should be stronger than the third placed in Holland, but Augsburg is a quite small team and a debutant in Europe, and so could be a bit unpredictable, while AZ is quite experienced in UEFA competitions.