Verdict: Fenerbahce win
Best Odds: 6/5
Looking to pick up a first-leg Europa League advantage on Thursday night, Turkish giants Fenerbahce will make the trip to a struggling Austria Vienna.
Starting with the hosts, while Austria Vienna might have managed to make a much-needed return to winning ways last weekend, it doesn’t cover what has been a worrying blip for Manfred Schmid’s men. Despite eventually grabbing a scrappy 2-1 victory at home against WSG Tirol last time out, that was the first victory that the Violets have managed to pick up from their last four matchups across all competitions. Likewise, although the one-time Borussia Dortmund coach might have seen his side claim another bronze medal finish on domestic duties last season, they have rather drastically failed to keep up that momentum this time around. Facing what could be a tough test here, it should be noted that Thursday’s hosts have shown some worrying European issues at the Franz Horr Stadium. Including a 2-1 loss against Apollon in their last Europa League appearances in front of their own supporters, Austria Vienna have failed to win any of their last nine European displays on home soil.
Dealing with an injury crisis, Austria Vienna are expected to be without the likes of Matan Baltaxa, Armand Smrcka, Johannes Handl, Ziad El Sheiwi, Marko Rugaz, Andreas Gruber, and James Holland.
Despite being sent off in last weekend’s 2-1 victory against WSG Tirol, Lucas Galvao will start at the heart of Schmid’s defence here.
As for the visitors, while Fenerbahce might have been left heartbroken to have seen Dinamo Kiev end their Champions League qualifying adventure last month, the Turkish giants have largely bounced back. Getting a new era underway back in May as they welcomed Head Coach Jorge Jesus to Istanbul, the Yellow Canaries were last seen over the weekend picking up some perfect momentum. Eventually setting up Thursday’s trip to the Franz Horr Stadium thanks to a 3-1 aggregate victory against Czech outfit Slovacko earlier in the month, Fenerbahce were last seen breezing their way to a 6-0 romp away at Kasımpaşa. Now in the midst of a four-match unbeaten run across all competitions, the midweek guests also hold somewhat of a rugged European record on foreign soil. Including a thumping 3-0 victory against Antwerp while on Europa League duties last year, Jesus’ squad have lost just one of their previous four European appearances away from the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Fenerbahce look set to once again be without the likes of Irfan Kahveci, Mert Hakan Yandas, Serdar Aziz and Nazim Sangare on Thursday night.
Despite making the move from Cagliari this summer, 30-year-old João Pedro is also likely to miss out with a thigh issue.
Key Factors to Consider
- Including their 6-0 victory away at Kasımpaşa last weekend, Fenerbahce are unbeaten in each of their last four matchups across all competitions.
- Likewise, continuing on from last season, Fenerbahce have lost just one of their previous 25 appearances across all formats.
- Thursday’s guests have also lost just one of their previous five Champions League contests on foreign soil.
- Austria Vienna have failed to win any of their last nine Europa League fixtures on home soil, a run that stems all the way back to August 2016.
- Each of Vienna’s last seven home fixtures across all formats have finished with both teams finding the net.
Breezing their way to a stunning 6-0 romp away at Kasımpaşa last weekend, Fenerbahce appear to be enjoying under Jesus. Remarkably winning just one of their last 25 matchups across all competitions, Thursday’s guests will be looking to cash in on an Austria Vienna side who have continued to show some real inconsistencies. Despite the Violets managing to make a much-needed return to winning ways last time out, they should face a tough test here. Failing to win any of their last nine straight Europa League showdowns at the Franz Horr Stadium, a run that stems all the way back to August 2016, we’re backing an away victory in midweek.
Verdict: Fenerbahce win
Best Odds: 6/5
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