EUROPA LEAGUE: The Ultra previews Thursday’s Europa League semi-finals between RB LEIPZIG v RANGERS and WEST HAM v EINTRACHT FRANKFURT both including a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.
RB LEIPZIG V RANGERS
8pm It’s a huge week in Europe, and the Europa League Semi-Finals take centre stage on Thursday night on BETDAQ Betting Exchange. I know we’ve been over this before, but it is a real shame that one game can’t kick off at 5-45pm so we can enjoy both! Interest will be high from the British Isles tonight with Rangers and West Ham both in action – it’s a huge night for both clubs and even to get this far is a massive achievement for both. We start the evening with RB Leipzig hosting Rangers, and I think it’s fair to say that this was the toughest draw possible for Rangers. RB Leipzig have been in superb form for a while now, and they seem to be peaking at the right time. They have been banging in the goals for fun in this tournament and they’ve also reached the Final of the German Cup recently too. They were poor at the weekend against Union Berlin and that was a big surprise given their recent form, but I’d suggest they were focusing on this fixture. However, after such a slow start to the season that loss at the weekend has opened up the top four battle again for them, they only have a two point cushion now.
Rangers fans will be buzzing to be here, and they have had a fantastic run this season in Europe. The 4-2 win away from home against Dortmund will never be forgotten and was a real “I was there” moment for their fans. Since then, they have enjoyed a pretty easy draw and probably most importantly for tonight they have lost both away ties. They have been very impressive at home with six goals – indeed they absolutely battered Spoting Braga finishing the game with an xG of 6.02! That’s the highest xG figure I’ve seen this season! I would expect Rangers to challenge when they have home advantage, but they really dos struggle away from home and given that RB Leipzig have been in such good form lately, I can only see one winner here. It is tempting to go with RB Leipzig at a fancy price on the handicap because of the goals that they have scored, but I didn’t expect to see the home side trading as big as 1.41 here – for me that price is a Max Bet given the value on offer. Rangers haven’t been at their best this season in Scotland with Celtic very close to winning the title (they can at the weekend) and I know this is a huge game for Rangers, but I expect them to come up short. The second leg might be closer, but RB Leipzig should win comfortably here.
The Ultra Says:
Five points win RB Leipzig to beat Rangers at 1.41 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.
You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/RblRan
● RB Leipzig and Rangers will face off for the first time in Europe. The last time the very first meeting between two sides in European competition came at the semi-final stage or later of a major competition was in 2019-20 – RB Leipzig vs Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League (SF) and Sevilla vs Inter in the Europa League (F).
● Rangers have won just two of their last 24 matches in European competition away to German opposition (D9 L13), although one of those wins came at their last such attempt, defeating Borussia Dortmund in the play-offs in February.
● RB Leipzig have reached their second major European semi-final within their first five seasons in European competition, having also reached this stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20.
● Rangers have reached the semi-final stage of a major European competition for the seventh time overall and for the first time since 2007-08, when they finished as runners-up to Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup. Rangers have now equalled Celtic (7) for the most semi-finals contested in major European competition among Scottish clubs.
● RB Leipzig’s participation in this tie means that at least one team that has dropped down from the Champions League has reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in each season since 2015-16, though no such side has gone on to win the competition in any of the last three campaigns, with Atlético de Madrid the last to do so in 2017-18.
● Rangers have lost their last two away matches in Europe – against Crvena Zvezda in the Last 16 and Sporting Braga in the quarter-final. The Gers haven’t lost three consecutive away matches in European competition in a single season since 2000-01, with the third game in that run coming against German opposition in Kaiserslautern.
● RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku has won a penalty in each of his last three Europa League matches – despite not playing until the knockout phase this season, the Frenchman has won more penalties than any other player in the competition this campaign (3).
● Rangers full-back James Tavernier has scored six goals in the UEFA Europa League this season – excluding qualifiers, this is the joint-most goals in a single season in Europe by a Rangers player, along with Alfredo Morelos (2019-20) and James Forrest (1964-65).
WEST HAM V EINTRACHT FRANKFURT
8pm Next we have a fascinating tie as West Ham host Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s fair to say that not many football fans would have expected to see Eintracht Frankfurt here after they drew Barcelona in the Quarter-Finals, but they shocked everyone at the Camp Nou. The Hammers will be delighted that they don’t have to face Barcelona though, and they have a very good chance of reaching a European Final here which would be a massive achievement for David Moyes and his side. It’s actually hard to believe Moyes was employed to keep them in the Premier League at the time! This will be an interesting tie because I think it’s fair to say that both sides have been struggling for form lately. West Ham have only managed two wins in their last six in all competitions, while for Eintracht Frankfurt that’s only one. Indeed, if you took our the second leg of the Europa League Quarter-Final neither would have a win! It has to be mentioned that sometimes when mid-table sides domestically reach the latter stages of a European tournament, they tend to put their full focus on it. I would expect a high level from both sides, and West Ham will definitely have to play very well to win here despite home advantage. When you look at the xG figures from West Ham recently you can’t help but be worried about their level of performance – the question here is are Eintracht Frankfurt playing well enough to get a result?
I’m sure West Ham will be a popular bet here at around 2.0, but I would have a more open market here. While Eintracht Frankfurt have been on a run without a win in the Bundesliga, they haven’t been playing that badly. Most of their games have been pretty tight and close, and they did managed an xG of 1.96 away to Barcelona but managed to create an xG of over double what Barcelona managed when they had home advantage. Of course, you can question whether or not Barcelona fully committed to this tournament but that was still two good performances from Frankfurt. Compared to West Ham I just feel that they are playing more solid football at the moment. West Ham have conceded xG figures of 2.59 v Chelsea, 1.97 at home to Burnley, were pretty lucky not to concede in the second leg against Lyon giving away an xG of 1.84 and then they also conceded an xG of 2.42 to Lyon in the first leg – obviously they had a man down I just feel they aren’t creating a lot lately and are conceding chances for fun. The stand out bet here looks the West Ham lay at 2.0, and I expect Frankfurt to be really in this tie and wouldn’t even be surprised to see them win.
The Ultra Says:
Three points lay (liability) West Ham to beat Eintracht Frankfurt at 2.0 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.
You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/WesFra
● West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt have been matched up for the second time in European competition, with West Ham previously eliminating the German side at the semi-final stage of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975-76.
● West Ham’s only previous home match against Eintracht Frankfurt saw them win 3-1 at Upton Park, with Trevor Brooking scoring a brace. That game was the last time West Ham played against German opponents in Europe.
● Eintracht Frankfurt are the fourth side to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League still unbeaten having partaken in the group stages – two of the previous three went on to lift the trophy (Villarreal in 2020-21 and Chelsea in 2018-19), with only Liverpool in 2015-16 not ultimately winning the competition.
● West Ham have reached the semi-final stage of a major competition for the first time since 2013-14, when they lost 0-9 on aggregate against Manchester City in the League Cup. David Moyes’ last semi-final came in the other League Cup semi-final that season, with his Manchester United side being eliminated by Sunderland.
● Eintracht Frankfurt have kept just one clean sheet across their last 18 Europa League matches, conceding in each of the last eight in a row. Despite conceding in eight straight games, they remain unbeaten across those matches – they are the first team in Europa League history to concede in eight or more games in a row without being beaten.
● David Moyes is the first Scottish manager to reach the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup/Europa League since 2007-08, when Walter Smith took Rangers all the way to the final.
● Daichi Kamada has scored 10 goals in 20 appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt in Europe, with only Bernd Hölzenbein (18), Tony Yeboah (12) and Bernd Nickel (12) scoring more goals for the club in major European competition (excluding qualifiers). Kamada has scored as many away goals in 10 Europa League matches as he has in 45 away matches in the German Bundesliga (4).
● West Ham have scored the most goals via crosses (five) as well as the joint-most headed goals (five) of any side in the Europa League this season. Two of those goals were assisted by Aaron Cresswell from dead ball situations – only Rangers full-back James Tavernier has assisted as many goals from such situations this season.