Europa League: Marseille, Dnipro Look for Crucial Wins

Stade Velodrome (via Wikimedia Commons).
Stade Velodrome (via Wikimedia Commons). /

The Europa League is back this Thursday with an array of key games posing much intrigue for fans. Here, Kevin Kelly previews four Europa League games which could go a long way in determining the outcome of the group stages. 

Braga vs. Marseille

Braga will host Marseille at the Estádio Municipal de Braga on Thursday evening as they will look to extend their lead at the top of Group F.

Braga boast a 100% record so far in their Europa League Group F campaign with consecutive wins so far.

The Portuguese outfit began with a 1-0 win away at Liberec, and followed it up with another 1-0 win, this time at home to Dutch side Gronigen.

Now, Paulo Fonseca’s side face their toughest test yet in Marseille, who lead the way in Ligue 1 for much for the 2014/15 campaign, only to succumb in the final weeks to PSG.

Braga currently sit 4th in the Primeira Liga table on  13 points after seven games, four points behind joint leaders Porto and Sporting Lisbon.

Notably, Braga’s only previous encounter with French opponents was a 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain – they drew 0-0 in Paris and lost the home leg 1-0.

Marseille meanwhile sit 3rd in Group F, following one win and one loss. The French outfit began their campaign with a 3-0 win away to Gronigen but disappointingly followed it up with a 1-0 loss at home to minnows Liberec.

Marseille have endured a terrible domestic campaign so far, sitting 16th in Ligue 1 on nine points after 10 games so far. Just last weekend, Marseille were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Lorient.


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have won only once in eight games against Portuguese teams: W1 D2 L5 (W1 D1 L2 at home – W0 D1 L3 in Portugal).

That sole victory was in the first of those fixtures – a 2-1 home success against SL Benfica in the 1989/90 European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-finals.

Braga vs. Marseille Match Prediction

Thursday poses the best two teams in Group F meet – at least on paper. Braga may play in a slightly ‘easier’ league but are definitely in better form that their opponents.

Confidence will be key for this tie, with the Portuguese likely to win thorugh a slender victory.

Dnipro vs. St. Etienne

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk  welcome St. Etienne to the Dnipro Arena on Thursday night as they look to build upon their last win away to Rosenborg.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk currently lie 2nd in Group G on four points after two matches. The Ukrainians began with a 1-1 draw at home to Lazio, but followed it up with a 1-0 win away to Rosenborg.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who were the runners-up of the 2014/15 Europa League, will be hoping that a win against the French outfit St. Etienne could propel them top of the group, should Lazio fail to beat Rosenberg.

Domestically Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are in decent form, sitting 3rd in the table on 23 points after 11 games. However, Dnipro are five points behind both Shaktar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv, and will know results will need to improve should they harbour hopes of winning the title this campaign.

Dnipro have negotiated their way through four of their previous five UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, including the last three.

St. Etienne meanwhile sit bottom of Group F on one point after two games.

The French side began their Europa League campaign with an end-to-end 2-2 draw at home to Rosenborg, but failed to build upon the result as they then went on to lose 3-2 away to Lazio, in another enthralling and goal-laden match.

Domestically Christophe Galtier’s men are in erratic form, having won two and lost two of their last four league matches, which leaves with sitting 4th in Ligue 1, trailing seven points behind leaders PSG.

The away side will be without the services of two suspended players; Robert Beric and Mouttapha Sall.

Notably, St-Étienne made it through the UEFA Cup group stage at the first attempt in 2008/09 but missed the cut last season in their first UEFA Europa League group stage tilt.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk vs. St. Etienne Match Prediction

Both sides are equally matched, and domestically both bore erratic form, keeping them back from being right at the top of the table. However, the European pedigree of the hosts should see them past their visitors on this occasion.