A 1:0 defeat last weekend against Chelsea didn’t come as good preparation for the upcoming first leg of the Europa League semi-finals, but nevertheless, the Hammers definitely have something to look forward to in this one.
A chance for a good start is realistic for the English squad, as they are looking good at home lately, especially in their continental appearance, and strangely enough, the Hammers’ last home encounter against the German squad resulted in a 3:1 victory against none other than Eintracht itself.
Central defenders Diop (13/0), Zouma (20/1), and Ogbonna (11/1) are out injured.
After delivering quite a shock in the football world in the last round of the campaign, a team from Germany is entering this first leg with their morale touching the sealing.
They are facing some inconvenience regarding their Bundesliga campaign, as they failed to record a positive result in their last two appearances, but even so, their offensive style of play, and good realization of their chances, is more than enough to expect quite a performance from the undeservedly underestimated German Squad.
PAOK suffered an expected defeat in the first leg on the road to France against favored Marseille when they were outplayed with a 2:1 result, but can be more than satisfied with only one goal difference before the upcoming second leg.
They were generally outplayed in this one and went on a break with a 2:0 deficit, but still came out of the locker room a bit more creative and reduced over El Kaddouri at the begging of the second, showing that they have what it takes to make the lives very difficult to their opponents in Greece.
Central defender Michailidis (19/2) should be the only real injury worry for the hosts continuing to miss out.
Marseille did their job last time out at home against PAOK when they deservedly celebrated with a 2:1 victory, but overly looking, they can’t be that satisfied nor relaxed with the final result.
They opened the match in a more aggressive manner and took a double lead over Gerson and Payet during the first part, and even though they continued being better in the continuation, they failed to be more creative, and as mentioned conceded one at the very start of the second.
Expectations are high for the fans of the Eagles, as they are heading towards their first European clash against the Spanish giants Barcelona, and will definitely do their best to be as competitive as possible, despite the odds being significantly against them.
Eintracht made a setback in their latest Bundesliga home appearance against severely underestimated Greuther Furth when they come with a 0:0 stalemate, significantly decreasing their chances to grab the European exit this season, but a six-match unbeaten run across all competitions is providing them with some hope of being competitive in the upcoming first leg.
The Germans should keep missing goalkeeper Ramaj (1/0), left-back Lenz (12/0), and forward Ache (10/0). Defender da Costa (10/0) is doubtful. Right-back Durm (7/00 and defensive midfielder Ilsanker (10/0) aren’t registered for this phase.
Barcelona left their poor season start well behind them, as they are visibly improving after bringing some freshness into their squad.
Sociedad made a decent appearance in their last clash in Europa on the road against Leipzig when they managed to pull out a 2:2 draw, despite being strongly underestimated by the bookmakers.
They were in a position to always chase for the result, as they conceded first in the 8th, but responded in the best way possible and equalized over Nkunku in the 30th.
A penalty action occurred during the second when the hosts took the lead once against in the 64th, but the Spanish squad proved to be a tough nut to crack, as they leveled up once again in the last ten minutes over Forsberg, leaving things quite open for the upcoming decisive second leg.
The Spaniards should miss defender Rico (10/0), midfielders Merino (20/2), Januzaj (23/2), forward Barrenetxea (11/1), with forward Isak (20/4) being doubtful for the moment.
As mentioned above, the German squad failed to meet the expectations of the community last Thursday against underdogs from Sociedad when they definitely demonstrated quite an offensive potential, but also some vulnerabilities in the back as well.
Porto is coming to this European clash after a minor setback last time out in Liga Portugal when they took only a point in a 2:2 draw, playing at their home against underdogs from Sporting.
This match ended their eleven matches positive run, a feat that is definitely hard to achieve, so not surprisingly, they hold the leading spot in the general rankings, leaving previously mentioned Sporting with six points in deficit.
Even though they were eliminated from the Champions League campaign, Porto remains hungry for a major European trophy, and I am positive that they will approach this clash with a maximum engagement.
Goalkeeper Marchesin (5/0) is suspended, as well as left full-back Wendell (18/1). Left-back Manafa (8/0) is out injured.
After their dramatic 4:0 away loss in Coppa Italia to Milan, Lazio managed to bounce back in their last Serie A performance at home against Bologna when they routinely walked over them with a 3:0 victory.
The Hammers did their part of the job in the group stage of the Europa League campaign, as they secured their ticket for further progress from the top spot.
They won their last performance in Europa on the road to Vienna when they outplayed Rapid with a 0:2 result, and even though this clash has no competitive signature for the English squad, they definitely showed that they are more than capable to be dangerous.
Central-backs Zouma (11/1), Ogbonna (11/1), right-backs Fredericks (1/0), Johnson (9/1), and left-back Cresswell (13/1) shouldn’t be used here.
Dinamo is currently at the second spot in the rankings, two points ahead of their closest Genk, and all they have to do is to avoid defeat in the upcoming clash to secure their ticket for further progress due to their superior head-to-head record against previously mentioned Belgian squad.
It all comes down to this clash for the Greek squad, as in case of a victory, they will secure their further progress, possibly coming at the top of the group, if things go in the right direction for them.
Their domestic appearances this season are quite well to say, and even though they lost their previous fixture against group leaders from Eintracht, high motivation is certainly not absent for the Greek favorites.
It is do-or-die for the Turks as well in this one, but judging by their overall performances so far in the campaign, I have serious doubts about their success in the upcoming clash.
After four negative results and a downtrend in their form, Lazio improved and won 3:2 at home over Roma last weekend, proving that they are yet to show their best.
This is an obvious uptrend in their form now, as they looked really sharp with the ball to their feet getting the three-pointer over hated rival thanks to goals from Milinkovic-Savic, Pedro, and Anderson. No doubt that they are fired up to improve in Europa League too, after quite undeserved and unlucky defeat away to Galatasaray last time out.
Offensive midfielder Zaccagni (3/0) should be the only absentee worry for the hosts.
The Foxes missed their Champions League ticket last season maybe a bit unfortunate in my opinion, but will definitely do their best to be as competitive as possible in the upcoming Europa League campaign.
They share the group with Napoli, Legia, and Spartak from Moscow, overly looking, being one of the best squads, and are certainly in a position to compete for promotional first two places.
The Foxes continue to miss defenders Fofana and Justin, as well as midfielder Mendy, all three without playing in the new season.
Vitesse made a more than decent performance on the road to Belgium last Thursday when they managed to pull out a 3:3 draw against much favored Anderlecht.
Being in a 2:1 disadvantage after the first part, the guests successfully reversed the result to their favor with goals in the 46th and the 72nd but had the misfortune of conceding one more late in the match.
However, they can be satisfied with the outcome, as the hosts were provided with the penalty five minutes later, but luckily for Vitesse, failed to materialize it.