This week sees another return of Thursday night football across Europe as the UEFA Europa League takes the central attention. As we are already halfway, the ambition in most of the clubs is to secure a ticket to the next round of the competition.
Toulouse vs Liverpool
The last meeting between the sides saw Liverpool score five goals to control the fixture at home at Anfield Stadium. Now clashing once again, Liverpool takes a trip to France in hopes of getting back into winning ways having earned a last-minute shocking draw against Luton Town in the league campaign. But in Europe this season have been outstanding winning all three fixtures and posing a huge threat to the opponents.
Ajax Amsterdam vs Brighton
Having started the season badly, Ajax Amsterdam have now managed to win two matches in a row for the first time since May. These are encouraging results as they look to get a maximum of three points for the first time in Europe. To qualify for the next round is all in their hands but it remains to be seen if the turning point has unveiled itself. Meeting up with Brighton – one of the sides that have failed to provide consistency in terms of performances either. So, the match will be widely open. Revenge is at stake for Ajax who are playing well under a new manager.
Real Betis vs Aris Limassol
Since losing 1-0 to Rangers of Scotland in the opening match, Real Betis have managed to bounce back with two wins in a row to stay in contention to qualify for the next round. Manuel Pellegrini has done an outstanding job for the club as they lie sixth in the Spanish La Liga table. A win for them will take them to the promised land. One of the remarkable performers for the club is former Real Madrid star Isco, who has delivered since signing at the start of the season.
Villareal vs Maccabi Haifa
Both clubs haven’t enjoyed the ideal start in the tournament this season. Still, both search for three points, and the stage is set for them to get those. Villareal is far from being impressive in the league too. Lying 13th in La Liga standing, Villareal are hoping to change its fortunes now. The first stop has to get favorable results, especially on home turf against Maccabi Haifa of Israel.
West Ham vs Olympiacos
One of the interesting sides to watch in Europe this season has to be West Ham United. Having won the Conference League last season, West Ham are starting to pave the way as one of the good sides in Europe. Carrying the experience and fighting spirit, the hammers welcome Olympiacos looking to continue good form at home having last suffered a defeat in February.
AEK Athens vs Marseille
AEK Athens welcomes Marseille in the tough encounter in Greece. Marseille will travel with courage since they are yet to suffer a loss in the tournament plus have scored an impressive eight goals so far. But AEK are not easy to dispatch at home and would want to win the match to sit on top of the table. So, it shall be an open match for both sides.
Slavia Prague vs Roma
Despite the slow start in the Italian Serie A campaign, Roma is starting to come into the party with wonderful performances. But in Europe, they have been impressive maintaining a 100 percent record in the matches they have played. Having reached the final in the last campaign, the Italian outfit are on a quest to go even further. A win on Thursday will see them booking a place in the next round with two games to spare. Qualifying early will give them time to concentrate on the league campaign without being disturbed.
FK Qarabag vs Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen visits Qarabag on Thursday looking to stretch its unbeaten run this season in all competition. Since Xabi Alonso took over last year, Leverkusen has turned out to be a side to watch this season. In European competition, they are boosting a 100 percent record in three matches so far. Their opponents are having unwanted record having not won a match against the German opposition in the past in five attempts.