THE ULTRA Thurs: Europa League Quarter Finals

EUROPA LEAGUE: The Ultra previews Thursday’s quarter final second leg matches including a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.


5.45pm We have a massive night on BETDAQ Betting Exchange in the Europa League on Thursday as we head into the second legs with all four ties perfectly set up after the first leg. Of course there will be big favourites, but three ties finished the first leg 1-1 and there’s only one goal between the sides in the other game too – you couldn’t really ask for a better set up to enjoy the evening. Everything is on the line, and hopefully we see plenty of drama. It’s also brilliant that we start at 5-45pm with Atalanta v RB Leipzig, and then get to enjoy another game at 8pm later – that is a bugbear of mine with the Champions League. I have to say I was surprised that RB Leipzig couldn’t win the first leg in this tie. They arrive into that game in superb form domestically and it seemed Atalanta were there for the taking. In fairness to RB Leipzig they played very well and finished with an xG of 2.80 – it was a very open game and we should have had a lot more goals than the score line of 1-1. I would expect this to be another very entertaining affair, and we have a very open market. Indeed, this is the most open market of the Quarter-Finals with both sides very close to be the same price.

It was frustrating to lose our Max Bet on RB Leipzig in the first leg but I can’t argue with their performance. I don’t regret the bet because I believe we got a huge amount of value, and I feel we’re getting a huge amount of value backing RB Leipzig again here at 2.7. When you look at the recent results and performances of Atalanta, you just feel that they are there for the taking. Since the 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig, they lost further ground in Serie A with a 2-1 loss to Sassuolo at the weekend – the xG figures said it was a pretty even game but that’s still a very disappointing performance from Atalanta. They were very lucky to beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in the second leg of the last round as they conceded an xG of 1.82 and although it would have been nice for RB Leipzig to take a lead into this tie, I think that works in our favour here. I feel we’ll see an open game, and RB Leipzig just love playing on the counter. They are in superb form – they hammered Hoffenheim at the weekend and also record a 4-1 win over Dortmund in their last away game. I’m very happy to have another max bet on them, this time at cracking odds of 2.7.

The Ultra Says:
Five points win RB Leipzig to beat Atalanta at 2.7 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->


● Atalanta have never lost a home match in the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 11 previous matches (W7 D4), with three of those coming against German opponents: a 1-0 win vs 1. FC Köln in 1990, a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in 2018 and 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen last month.
● RB Leipzig’s four away matches in Europe this season have seen 23 goals scored (13 for, 10 against), winning the last two (5-0 vs Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League, 3-1 vs Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League). They’ve never won three consecutive away matches in major European competition.
● Atalanta have progressed from six of their last seven major European knockout ties when they’ve avoided defeat in the first leg; the other tie was in the 1990-91 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Internazionale (0-0 first leg, 0-2 second leg). They haven’t reached the last four of a major European competition since 1987-88 in the Cup Winners’ Cup, doing so as a Serie B side.
● RB Leipzig are looking to reach the last four of a major European competition for only the second time, also doing so in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League when they lost to Paris SG. Leipzig have progressed from three of their previous four Europa League ties, although their one failure to qualify was at this stage in 2017-18 against Marseille, losing 5-3 on aggregate.
● Luis Muriel has been directly involved in eight goals in seven starts in the UEFA Europa League across spells with Sevilla and Atalanta (5 goals, 3 assists). Among players to play at least 500 minutes in the competition, only Claudio Pizarro (one every 58 minutes) has provided a goal or assist more frequently than Muriel (one every 63 mins).


8pm As I said above, we have some fantastic set-ups tonight and every game is close, but Barcelona are the clear favourites of the night as they host Eintracht Frankfurt. The La Liga club are trading 1.43 which is the shortest price of any side tonight – indeed they are the only side odds on at the time of writing! (It’s marginal with Rangers at 2.02). Barcelona have been superb recently and everyone will be expecting a comfortable win here – to be honest it’s hard to see past Barcelona here but I have to point out a little worry when looking at their xG figures. They weren’t great in the first leg of this tie, but to be fair most away sides have gone into the first legs very cagey given there’s no away goal rule anymore – pretty much every side is going to take a draw of any form and that is going to be the tactics going forward – I would favour UEFA bringing back the away goal rule! However back to Barcelona, added to that sub-standard performance against Eintracht Frankfurt they were also very sloppy at the back against Levante at the weekend. I said in my preview of that game that Levante would cause Barcelona issues and that they were much better than their current position in La Liga, however I didn’t see Levante finishing the game with an xG of 3.46!

Barcelona were lucky to win that game and not concede more than two goals – but it always felt like a very open game and we landed a nice bet on overs. I felt Barcelona would win the first leg of this tie because Eintracht Frankfurt have been pretty average lately. They are without a win in their last five games in all competitive, and lost at the weekend against Freiburg. I just look at the Eintracht Frankfurt xG figures and don’t see them causing Barcelona too many problems. Obviously conceding a lot of chances at the weekend is a worry when backing Barcelona, but with home advantage here this should be one way traffic. I’m going to take a chance here and back Barcelona to cover the handicap, but I couldn’t put anyone off including the home win in any BETDAQ Multiple at 1.43 tonight. For me however the 2.16 on Barcelona -1.5 goals is too tempting to pass. If they continue with their home form in La Liga, this should be an easy win for the home side.

The Ultra Says:
Three points win Barcelona -1.5 goals to beat Eintracht Frankfurt at 2.16 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->


● Barcelona have won 14 of their last 16 home games against German sides in European competition (L2), however this will be the first such fixture played outside of the UEFA Champions League since January 1998 – a 2-0 win for Barcelona in the European Super Cup final (first leg) against Borussia Dortmund.
● Eintracht Frankfurt are unbeaten in their last nine games against Spanish sides in European competition (W5 D4), including the last four away from home (W3 D1) – they won 2-1 away to Real Betis in the previous round this season.
● Barcelona have only failed to progress from one of their last six knockout stage ties in European competition when avoiding defeat in the first leg, with that elimination coming against Liverpool – the eventual winners – in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19 (3-0 in first leg, 0-4 in second leg).
● Ferran Torres has been directly involved in four goals in five appearances for Barcelona in European competition (two goals, two assists); the most of any player since he joined the club.
● Eintracht Frankfurt’s Filip Kostic has created eight chances following a carry (moving 5+ metres with the ball) in the UEFA Europa League this season, the most of any player in the competition.


8pm Next we have Lyon hosting West Ham, and no doubt all Premier League eyes will be on this tie. West Ham would have had mixed feelings after the 1-1 draw in the first leg. Before the game they would have felt that they could win, at half-time they would have taken a draw as they were down to ten men, but then they took the lead and in the end should be happy with a 1-1. Lyon created a huge amount in the second half, as you would expect with the extra man to be honest, and the Hammers were lucky in the end with the draw. Lyon have been pretty average this season – they come into this tie sitting down in 10th in Ligue 1 in France. We all know that the French league is pretty weak outside of PSG too, so to be down in 10th is pretty poor. I fancied West Ham to get through this tie, but obviously losing a man so early in the game was never going to be ideal The market has Lyon has big favourites in the 90 minute market as they are trading 2.2 at the time of writing. In an ideal world, Lyon would be a big lay here but I am very worried about the form of West Ham – particularly away from home.

West Ham have gone five Premier League games away from home without a win. The loss away to Brentford at the weekend was obviously very disappointing and the performance was poor too. Although that away record is poor, you can forgive them because they have had a very difficult fixture list – they have had to play Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs but even in their home games they haven’t been creating a huge amount of chances. I did highlight that in the first leg, but given the level of Lyon this season I still felt that they would come through especially after the win at home to Sevilla. This is a tricky tie in my opinion, and the toughest betting heat of the night. I am definitely worried about the recent performances from West Ham because they aren’t creating a huge amount, however I still feel it’s worth laying Lyon at the odds here. The 2.2 is much too short in my opinion, and I fully expect a closer game than those odds suggest. From a value point of view I’m happy with the Lyon lay, but I’m also happy to keep stakes limited.

The Ultra Says:
Two points lay (liability) Lyon to beat West Ham at 2.2 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->


● Lyon and West Ham met for the first time in Europe last time out. It was only the sixth time that Lyon have drawn away from home in the first leg of a European knockout tie, progressing in three of the previous five instances, most recently against Chornomorets Odesa in this competition in 2013-14.
● West Ham failed to win the first leg of a major European knockout tie when playing at home for the fourth time; they were eliminated in each of the previous three instances – 1965-66 vs Borussia Dortmund, 1980-81 vs Dinamo Tbilisi and 2006-07 vs Palermo.
● Lyon (P9 W6 D3 L0) are one of two sides yet to lose in the UEFA Europa League this season having come through the group stages, along with Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s the third time they’ve gone nine games without defeat in a single season in major European competition (2013-14 Europa League, 2005-06 Champions League), never going 10 such games without a loss.
● West Ham have lost each of their last three knockout stage away games in major European competition, failing to score in all three matches: 1999-2000 vs FCSB (UEFA Cup), 2006-07 vs Palermo (UEFA Cup), and in the last round against Sevilla.
● Lyon have only failed to score in one of their last 28 matches in the UEFA Europa League, with that game coming away to Atalanta in the group stages in 2017-18. They haven’t failed to score at home in the competition since a quarter-final match against Juventus in 2013-14.


8pm We finish the Quarter-Finals with Rangers hosting Sporting Braga and although Sporting Braga are the only side to take a lead into the second legs tonight, this is still a fascinating tie. Rangers wouldn’t have been unhappy with losing the first leg 1-0 away from home, and they will still be confident of getting through. I felt before that game that Rangers just really needed to get through that first leg without too much damage and they were always going to target this second leg. Their away record in Europe in generally average – I know they were superb away to Dortmund but that was an outlier compared to their other away games in this competition. You also felt that Sporting Braga would have been much more comfortable at home too, and the atmosphere here is going to be intense. When you add everything together, you have to say that this tie is just perfectly set-up! Rangers would have been delighted with the draw when all is said and done, and when you look at the first leg performance of Sporting Braga I’m pretty confident that Rangers will win in 90 minutes here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see extra time needed, but the 2.02 on Rangers is worth backing in my opinion.

I know Rangers would have went into the first leg in very cagey fashion and wanted to defend, but Sporting Braga only finished with an xG of 0.35 which is obviously very disappointing. Their away performances in the Europa this season have been pretty average – but they have got results to their credit. However, they have created xG figures of 0.54, 0.69, 0.76 1.59 and 0.89 this season. I wouldn’t say that they have had tough games either – they are playing pretty average sides and it was a big surprise that they managed to get past Monaco which was driven by their home win. I know Rangers have had some setbacks domestically this season and their title dream is gone after the Old Firm loss – but that should focus the mind on the Europa League this season and I can’t see past them at 2.02. I said at the start of this article that we only have one odds on favourite tonight, but I feel we should have two and that side should be Rangers. Braga are a very average side away from home, and Rangers should get the win and also get through to the Semi-Finals which would be a massive result for the club.

The Ultra Says:
Three points win Rangers to beat Sporting Braga at 2.02 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->


● The first leg was the third meeting between these two sides in Europe, and the first time Rangers were defeated by Braga, having won the previous two meetings in 2019-20. It was the ninth time that Rangers have been defeated in the first leg of a knockout tie in the UEFA Cup/Europa League, advancing in two of the previous three such instances (vs Marítimo in 2004-05 and Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2006-07).
● Braga have progressed from their previous nine ties in the UEFA Cup/Europa League when winning the first leg, with eight of those previous nine wins coming in home matches. Indeed, Braga have played more two-legged major UEFA European knockout ties without being eliminated after winning the first leg than any other team in history (10 – 9 in the UEFA Cup/Europa and one in the Cup Winners’ Cup).
● In the first leg, Rangers failed to direct a single shot on target in a major European game for the first time since November 2009, against Stuttgart in the Champions League.
● Braga (0.53) and Rangers (0.54) combined for a total expected goals figure of only 1.07 in the first leg, the joint-lowest total in any UEFA Europa League match this season along with Monaco vs PSV in November.
● Rangers midfielder Aaron Ramsey has scored six goals in 12 starts in the UEFA Europa League, all for Arsenal between 2018 and 2019. His last home start in the competition saw him net the opener against Napoli in the quarter-finals in 2018-19.

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