Today’s Europa League Previews & Fixtures

Mohammed Kudus West Ham  and Freiburg square off in group A

West Ham United and Freiburg square off in the Europa League on Thursday night with a place in the last 16 at stake. Although both teams are already guaranteed to feature in the knockout stages, they will each be eager to finish top of Group A and avoid the last 32.

David Moyes has become used to balancing hectic schedules in recent years, both in terms of Premier League and European action, but he was unable to account for a stomach bug affecting his squad at the back end of last week.

Fortunately for Moyes and his players, they can enter this fixture having already qualified for at least the last 32, easing the pressure to a certain extent.

Nevertheless, this is a competitive game for West Ham as they bid to take two matches off their schedule in 2024 and progress a round further towards winning European silverware in successive seasons.

A draw will be enough for the East Londoners, yet Moyes will be eager to see a much-improved performance from the one produced in Serbia against Backa Topola.

With West Ham’s squad having needed to recover from a stomach bug over the weekend and into this week, it remains to be seen whether they will be back to full fitness. Nevertheless, in what we feel will be an entertaining game, the Hammers should be able to battle their way to a share of the spoils, one which will keep them in top spot.



Brighton and Marseille battle for top spot in Group B

Brighton & Hove Albion and Marseille will battle for top spot in Group B of the Europa League when they lock horns at the American Express Stadium in their final group fixture on Thursday night.

The two teams have already qualified for the knockout rounds, but a victory for either side would guarantee their place in the last 16, consigning the other club to the playoff round.

Brighton were well aware of the challenges facing them ahead of their first-ever European group-stage campaign with French giants Marseille, Dutch titans Ajax and Greek champions AEK Athens, but they have successfully punched their ticked to the knockout rounds with a game to spare.

Brighton vs Marseille

After failing to win their first two Group B games, the Seagulls have since won each of their last three without conceding a goal, with back-to-back 2-0 victories over Ajax followed by a slender 1-0 away triumph over AEK Athens.

Since beating AEK Athens, Brighton have experienced a mixed run of results on the domestic front, as they have lost, won and drawn once game each in their last three Premier League fixtures.

Both teams will be keen to end the group stage on a high by securing top spot with a win to progress straight through to the last 16, but they will be aware of the attacking threats each side will likely pose in this intriguing contest, so they must be on top of their game to achieve success on the South coast.

Plenty of goalmouth action is set to be instore, but considering Brighton’s injury list and leaky backline, we believe that an Aubameyang-inspired Marseille outfit will come out on top in a thriller.



Liverpool face Union SG in final Group E fixture

Liverpool travel to Lotto Park in Belgium to face Union SG in their final Group E fixture of the Europa League on Thursday night.

While the Reds have already qualified for the last 16 as group winners, Union SG still have an outside chance of finishing in the top two and securing their spot in the knockout rounds.

Competing in the Europa League for just the second time in their history, Union SG’s hopes of reaching the knockout round for the second successive year are out of their hands after playing out a goalless draw with Toulouse on matchday five a fortnight ago.

Union SG vs Liverpool

The Brussels-based outfit are now bidding to win successive Europa League home games for the first time, after beating LASK Linz 2-1 in October, but defeating Liverpool could prove challenging as they have lost each of their previous three meetings with English opposition.

The onus is on Union SG to take the game to Liverpool on home soil in their quest to secure a top-two finish, and Thursday’s contest may be their best opportunity to get the better of the Reds, who could potentially field a much-rotated side.

Nevertheless, the lineup that Klopp selects should still be strong enough to outscore their Belgian counterparts en route to claiming all three points and completing Group E on a positive note.



Villarreal travel away to take on Rennes

Villarreal take on Rennes at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday evening, in their second match in Group F of the Europa League. The hosts will be looking to bounce back from a loss in their opening game, while the visitors are hoping to make it two wins from two.

Villarreal suffered an unexpected defeat in their first Europa League match, losing 2-0 away at Greek side Panathinaikos, and they deserved to lose on the balance of play, considering they recorded just one shot on target in the entire match.

As such, the Yellow Submarine will be aiming to get back on track in the competition they won back in the 2020-21 season, but their league form does not bode well heading into the game after a poor start to the season.

Villarreal vs Rennes

Although there is still a long way to go in the Europa League group stages, Villarreal at least need to avoid defeat to avoid being cut adrift, but they are set to come up against a side in very good form.

Indeed, Rennes have made a solid start to the Ligue 1 season, currently sitting in fifth place, having gone undefeated in their opening seven league games. Given that Rennes have made a habit of drawing games so far this season, we expect the spoils to be shared on Thursday night.

Villarreal have made a very poor start to the season, but home advantage could also be an important factor.



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