Europa League: Dnipro and Besiktas Hope to Save Campaigns

Besiktas Fans (via Flikr Creative Commons)
Besiktas Fans (via Flikr Creative Commons) /

Europa League previews looking at two key games from the upcoming matchday four of Europe’s second-tier competition. 

St. Etienne vs. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

St. Etienne welcome FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in a match which could go a long wait in deciding the fate of who comes 2nd in Group G.

St. Etienne welcome the Ukrainian outfit on Thursday with both clubs having accrued four points apiece, with the French side ahead with a superior goal head to head record.

With Lazio three points clear of both on seven points, it looks like a clear shoot out for that final qualification spot in 2nd place to the knockout stages – the last 32 – of the competition.

Domestically St. Etienne sit 4th in Ligue 1, but have enjoyed mixed form of late, accruing nine points from the last 18 available.

With a 1-0 victory away to Dnipro last time out, the French side certainly carry the positive momentum, and perhaps a psychological edge too.

Notably, St-Étienne have drawn their last five UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage home games.

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk meanwhile also sit on four points, and will hope to go one better than last season’s Europa League effort, wherein they lost in the final to Sevilla.

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It won’t be an easy task however, and having lost at home to their hosts last time out, know that they are more than capable of losing to the zippy French side.

In the Ukrainian Premier League Dnipro sit in a familiar 3rd place, but will be disappointed to already trail 1st place pairing Shakhtar Dontesk and Dinamo Kyiv by seven points.

History is on the side of the visitors, who often impress in Europe: Dnipro have negotiated four of their previous five UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, including the last three.

St. Etienne vs. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Match Prediction

Thursday’s clash is perhaps the highlight of matchday four. With the opponents neck and neck in the group, defeat for either side is unthinkable.

Although St. Etienne may have the immediate psychological advantage over their hosts, Dnipro have the European pedigree to deal with such adversity. A draw is the likely result here.

Besiktas vs. Lokomotiv Moscow

Besiktas host Lokomotiv Moscow to the Ataturk Stadium on Thursday, in a crunch match which could a long way in deciding who wins Group H. 

Besiktas currently sit 2nd in Group H on five points after three games, but have first place in their sights as they host the group leaders on Thursday night.

The Turkish outfit are unbeaten in their Europa League campaign so far, having beaten Skenderbeu on the opening day, but subsequently drawn their last two matches.

Having drawn 1-1 last time out away at their hosts in Russia, Besiktas will be confident of reversing the dynamic of group, with a win on Thursday lifting them above Lokomotiv to eight points.

Form wise, Beşiktaş’s eight encounters with Russian teams have ended W3 D2 L3 (W2 D1 L1 in Istanbul).

Although qualification is still likely for the Turkish side, their form last season was better: making it through last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage unbeaten.


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Lokomotiv Moscow meanwhile of course sit top of Group H on seven points from the last nine available, winning two and drawn one match.

A win in Istanbul on matchday four, coupled with Sporting CP failing to overcome KF Skënderbeu, would send the Russian side to the round of 32.

Domestically Lokomotiv are enjoying poor form of late, losing their last two matches in the Russian Premier League. Despite that however, Lokomotiv remain in 2nd place in the table.

Lokomotiv have form of qualifying from the group stages, and are very likely to do so again, having successfully negotiated two of their previous three UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Thursday is another stand-out clash from matchday four, with real tangible changes in the table possible.

Besiktas more than anything cannot afford to lose the game with the group so tight, and will likely play for a draw, bringing their qualification hopes down to the final two matches.