Match Preview: 2013/14 Europa League – Round of 32
ROUND OF 32
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk – Tottenham Hotspur FC 30% – 70%
Tottenham should be able to advance without many troubles, but not to dominate. It could be a quite entertaining tie.
Real Betis Balompié – FC Rubin Kazan 40% – 60%
This is an interesting and balanced tie. Our bet is on Rubin Kazan, but long Russian winter break and the involvement of Betis in the struggle to avoid relegation could affect this tie.
Swansea City AFC - SSC Napoli 45% – 55%
A nightmare tie for both Napoli and Swansea. If they played with their best players, we would bet on Napoli, and moreover last Season Benitez took EL “quite” seriously, but Swansea qualification wouldn’t be a surprise at all.
Juventus FC - Trabzonspor 60% – 40%
Not an easy draw for Juventus. Trabzonspor probably proved to be a little bit better than Lazio in the Group Stage, but Lazio is much weaker than Juventus.
If they fielded a good number of their best players, we’d say Juventus anyway.
NK Maribor – Sevilla FC 25% – 75%
Sevilla should qualify with no big big issues, probably with a goal difference of 2 or 3 on aggregate.
FC Viktoria Plzeň – FC Shakhtar Donetsk 33% – 67%
Viktoria plays a nice football and is never easy to be faced.
Anyway Coach Pavel Vrba has just been appointed new Manager of Czech National Team.
In Champions League Viktoria proved to be as strong as CSKA Moscow, that anyway should be a bit weaker than Shakthar: so the Ukranians are our favorites to qualify, but after two hard matches.
Chernomorets Odessa – Olympique Lyonnais 55% – 45%
This tie should be quite open, this OL isn’t the best of its recent history, but it should be stronger than the Ukrainians anyway. Despite that, we would risk a bet on Chernomorets, that kicked out PSV from Group Stage, but performances of Eastern teams just after a long winter break are always a question mark.
SS Lazio – PFC Ludogorets Razgrad 55% – 45%
Lazio can look like the lucky one among unseeded teams, but I see this Lazio more or less on the same level with PSV. The team from Rome is maybe still slightly favorite, but they lost Hernanes and replaced their Manager Petkovic with a new one, Reja, who in the past didn’t take Europa League too seriously, thus a qualification of Ludogorets wouldn’t be a surprise at all.
Esbjerg fB - ACF Fiorentina 15% – 85%
Fiorentina should already be at the Round of 16.
Esbjerg fB is probably (one of) the biggest surprises of Group Stage: they proved to be stronger than Elfsborg IF and than the second lines of Standard Liege, but (much) weaker than Red Bull Salzburg.
AFC Ajax – FC Red Bull Salzburg 50% – 50%
This is a very balanced tie. We can’t find a favorite team, and qualification could be still open until the very last minute of the second leg.
Moreover Red Bull Salzburg is a very unpredictable team, that can both win every match in the Group Stage and be defeated by very weak opponents.
Maccabi Tel Aviv FC - FC Basel 1893 50% – 50%
Another balanced tie, Maccabi is a very good team with a lot of talent, but these clubs have already faced eachothers in CLQ3 and Basel proved to be a little bit stronger, and should be still favorite. Anyway we would dare to bet on Maccabi, because it’s qualification couldn’t be considered a surprise.
FC Porto – Eintracht Frankfurt e.V. 67% – 33%
FC Porto should qualify, but Eintracht Frankfurt, that could be still involved in the battle to avoid relegation in Bundesliga, could cause them troubles until the last minute.
FC Anzhi Makhachkala – KRC Genk 40% – 60%
If they had played in December, Genk would have already been at the Round of 16, but Anzhi strenghtened the team, mostly signing players on loan, during the Winter in order to desperately try to avoid relegation, and, moreover, Russian Champioship is still on the winter break and Anzhi in this Round can focus only on Europa League.
Anyway KRC Genk should be still favorite.
FC Dynamo Kyiv – Valencia CF 50% – 50%
Another very open and interesting tie, and we can’t find any favorite team.
Dynamo Kyiv maybe has a little bit stronger squad, but they didn’t fully convince in the Group Stage.
PAOK FC – SL Benfica 45% – 55%
Another Greek team for Benfica.
The Portuguese team should be a little bit favourite, but PAOK is just slightly weaker then Olympiakos, and in January they added several good players (Natcho, Insaurralde, Maduro, Hoesen and Martens, but few of them won’t be eligible to play in Europa League) to their squad, and surely they will cause several troubles to the Portuguese team.
FC Slovan Liberec – AZ 43% – 57%
Another quite balanced tie.
AZ should be a bit favourite, but Slovan proved to be a very hard team to be beaten, and Udinese, Freiburg, Estoril and Sevilla know that, while AZ was one of the weakest seeded teams.
ROUND OF 16
Slovan Liberec/AZ – Anzhi Makhachkala/Genk
Lazio/Ludogorets Razgrad- Dynamo Kyiv/Valencia
Porto/Eintracht Frankfurt - Swansea City/Napoli
Chornomorets Odessa/Lyon - Viktoria Plzeň/Shakhtar Donetsk
Maribor/Sevilla - Real Betis/Rubin Kazan
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk/Tottenham Hotspur - PAOK/Benfica
Maccabi Tel Aviv/Basel - Ajax/Red Bull Salzburg
Juventus/Trabzonspor - Esbjerg/Fiorentina
These are the teams that in our opinion should reach the Quarter-Finals:
KRC Genk, Valencia CF, SSC Napoli, Shakthar Donetsk FC, Sevilla FC, Tottenham Hotspurs FC (SL Benfica), Maccabi Tel Aviv, Juventus FC
Italy 4 teams: AC Fiorentina, Juventus FC, SS Lazio, SSC Napoli
Ukraine 4: FC Dynamo Kiyv, Shakthar Donetsk, Chornomorets Odessa, FC Dnipro
Spain 3: FC Sevilla, Real Betis Balompiè, Valencia CF
Russia 2: Rubin Kazan, FC Anzhi Makhachkala
England 2: Tottenham Hotspurs FC, Swansea City AFC
Netherlands 2: AZ, AFC Ajax
Czech Republic 2: Slovan Liberec, FC Viktoria Plzen
Portugal 2: FC Porto, SL Benfica
Israel 1: Maccabi Tel Aviv
Slovenia 1: NK Maribor
Bulgaria 1: PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Switzerland 1: FC Basel 1893
Germany 1: Eintracht Frankfurt e.V.
France 1: Olympique Lyonnaise
Belgium 1: KRC Genk
Turkey 1: Trabzonspor
Austria 1: Red Bull Salzburg
Denmark 1: Esbjerg fB
Greece 1: PAOK FC
All the the predictions have been made by Maxi Lozzo.