Europa League Betting Preview: Foxes and Old Firm Facing Crucial Clashes While Hammers Go for Top Spot

Rapid Vienna v West Ham, 5.45 pm

A win for West Ham will guarantee them the top spot in this group while only a win will be good enough to keep Rapid Vienna in the competition with one game to spare in the Europa League group stages.

The unbeaten Hammers top Group H and a draw in Vienna may well be enough to win it as they sit with a four-point lead over Dinamo Zagreb – who they play at home in the final group game. David Moyes would prefer to host that game with his side already assured of top spot though.

West Ham scored a goal in either half to win the reverse fixture 2-0 at the London Stadium and after Vienna turned a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 defeat in Zagreb they’re now hanging by a thread. They’ll be dangerous as a desperate team and with eight of their nine games in Europe seeing a goal in the last 10 minutes they’re not games to leave early!

West Ham also conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 in Genk last time out which has slowed their progress into the last 16, but they’re still big favourites to win here despite their 11-game unbeaten away run ending at Wolves at the weekend.

Rapid have only scored three goals in four Europa League games but after watching Genk get two at home they’ll fancy their chances of breaching the Spurs defence. Goal-scoring midfielder Marco Grull will be a big danger after four goals in eight and a goal and assist in their last home match.

Said Benrahma scored twice in Genk and also bagged in the first game against Rapid, so adding him to score again in a West Ham win at 13/5 looks a nice bet for this one.

Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic, 5.45 pm

We could have plenty of goals in this game as only one team have scored more in the Europa League group stages than Bayer Leverkusen while Celtic hold the joint-worst record for conceding goals in the competition.

Bayer inflicted Celtic’s worst-ever home defeat in the competition on the Glasgow side as they ran out 4-0 winners in September, but Ange Postecoglu insists his side are much better now after back-to-back wins over Ferencvaros kept them in the competition.

No team’s games have seen more goals than Celtic’s 18 in this entertaining group, and the Hoops have scored three times in both of their away games – beating Ferencvaros 3-2 while losing 4-3 at Real Betis.

Leverkusen have not been in great form since winning at Celtic Park though with just two wins in nine, while Celtic are unbeaten and bring with them a big goal threat that should be enough to at least see them score at the BayArena.

But in teenager sensation Florian Wirtz and French winger Moussa Diaby, Leverkusen have the class acts on the field – even more so if Patrik Schick can return from injury. So the Germans should have enough get the win they need to guarantee top spot.

Get on Bayer Leverkusen and both teams to score here at 8/5.

Leicester v Legia Warsaw, 8 pm

Spartak Moscow’s surprise win over Napoli on Wednesday put the Russians top of Group C and sent Leicester to the bottom of the standings, but anything is still possible in the craziest group in the Europa League.

Every team has beaten each other but after earning just one win despite playing well at times, the Foxes now need to avenge their previous defeat by Legia and grab the vital three points that will catapult them from rock bottom to top spot. It’s that close in this group.

Even a draw wouldn’t mean the end of Leicester’s chances, but they face a tough trip to Napoli in their final game and they’d need a win there if they don’t take three points at the King Power against Legia.

And when the fixtures came out, Brendan Rodgers would’ve hoped to have had progression already sealed before the trip to Naples, so he’ll be keen to get what should be a regulation victory against the Polish side – even though they lost the first meeting 1-0.

Leicester haven’t won in four though and just can’t stop conceding goals – they’ve not had a clean sheet in 11 games and the only one they’ve had at home was in the opening game of the season against Wolves.

That’ll be a stat Legia will hope to prey on – having scored in six of their last seven away games including when winning at Spartak Moscow. And a win here would also put Legia top with a two-point cushion going into their final game at home to Spartak.

It’s all building up to a thrilling end to this group, but Leicester need that win here to hold the advantage going into it. It’s something they should manage as 1/6 favourites but their defensive record points to Legia grabbing a goal. 15/8 on a Leicester win and both teams to score gets the nod.

Rangers v Sparta Prague, 8 pm

It’s a chase for second behind runaway leaders Lyon in this group with Rangers hosting Sparta Prague at Ibrox with both teams neck-and-neck on four points. Rangers are still reeling from losing Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa and the following League Cup semi-final defeat against Hibs was likely down to suffering the loss of their manager. Now former player Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been installed to try and bring the team back to life.

It’s not the ideal situation but Van Bronckhorst’s status as club legend will buy him time and his does have a team that’s lost just once at home in the Europa League group stages in 11 games.

Rangers did lose the first meeting between these two 1-0 in Prague but that means they can now secure that second place if they can beat Sparta by two goals or more as long as Brondby don’t beat Lyon in the other game.

It’s a nice incentive for his side to go out all guns blazing, but it’s also a dangerous game state as Sparta know that a win of any kind at Ibrox will likely put them through, while a draw wouldn’t be the worst result in the world given they host Brondby in the final fixture while Rangers go to Lyon.

The home crowd will be up for this one and despite Sparta’s vast European experience (this is their 39th straight year in European football) they’ve lost 10 of their last 12 away games and conceded three on average in their last three trips.

Back Rangers to get it done at 3/5 and back Sparta to get over three cards at 7/4.

The people behind this page's online gambling content experts helped write, edit and check the content on this page:

Paul Higham is a sports journalist who covers football, golf, the NFL and darts. He has written for Sky Sports, BBC Sport and Sporting Life, among other publications.

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