We had to wait until the very last minute, but last week’s Europa League quarter-final first legs provided a fantastic winner on the BTTS coupon, and we’d love to follow that up with another winning treble in these crucial reverse ties.
With a bit of luck, we’ll be dodging clean sheets like certain politicians dodge taxes. New customers at 888sport can also take advantage of a huge sign up offer. Or if you already have an account, the standard payout will still be a pleasing £52.60 from a £10 stake.
That has to be worth a Thursday night punt.
Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund. 8:05PM
Last week’s first leg in Germany was a fascinating contest both on the pitch and in the stands. Quite frankly, if Thursday’s return clash can match the excitement, a BTTS winner will be almost certain.
Jurgen Klopp’s faith in Divock Origi raised more questions than the fact Jonjo Shelvey earns more money than Neymar, but the Belgian repaid his manager’s faith with a crucial away goal. The Merseysiders will at least be fancied to score at Anfield, especially if the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are on form.
However, one goal might not be enough for the Premier League side to progress. Dortmund are many people’s pick to go all the way in this competition, and it’s hard to argue against the talents of Pierrer-Emerick Aubaeyang and Marco Reus. With Liverpool missing the defensive cover of midfielder Jordan Henderson, we’d be very surprised if the Bundesliga visitors fire a blank.
In truth, we fancy Thomas Tuche’s side to just about edge it. However, Liverpool won’t go down without a fight.
Sevilla v Athletic Bilbao. 8:05PM
Following a 2-1 win in last week’s away trip to Bilbao, Unai Emery’s Sevilla will be fully expected to take another huge step towards a third successive Europa League title. However, the hosts shouldn’t expect to have things all their own way at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
After all, the visitors are actually three points ahead of the hosts in La Liga. While that doesn’t count for anything in this one, it does underline the talent in Ernesto Valverde’s squad. Atheltic also enter the game having scored in each of their last 11 fixtures. Considering the fact they need to attack from the kick-off, we think there’s a great chance of that sequence being extended.
Even if Bilbao do score, we’d fully expect the hosts to prevail. They’ve won each of the last threee head-to-head matches, and will be banking on a big performance from the force of Fernando Llorente and Kevin Gameiro once more.
Sevilla should seal their place in another semi-final, but we do think the visitors can grab a consolation. Back both teams to score.
Sparta Prague v Villarreal. 8:05PM
Zdenk Scasny’s Sparta Prague might be down, but they certainly aren’t out as Jakub Brabec’s crucial away goal gives the Czech’s a genuine reason for optimism. Nevertheless, the hosts will have to be at their absolute best to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Villarreal.
Sparta can at least be confident about making the net ripple, though, as they’ve scored in every match at the Generali Arena this term. That run includes Europa League goals against both Schalke and Lazio too, so David Lafata and co can be confident.
Their main problem, however, will be keeping the visitors quiet. The firepower of Cedric Bakambu, Roberto Soldado and Denis Suarez will be tough to contain for Sparta and Villarreal boss Marcelino will be eager to see his side score a crucial away goal at the earliest stage possible. We’ve no doubt that the Spaniard will get it.
Still, El Submarino Amarillo aren’t invincible and Prague can capitalise with a goal of their own. We just don’t think it will be enough to stop the favourites from progressing.