- 2019/20 Europa League group stages start next week
- Sevilla hot favorites to win Group A
- Two-way scrap for second between APOEL Nicosia and Qarabag
Next week sees the start of the 2019/20 Europa League group stages, and we are going to look at each group and see who are the favorites to qualify for the knockout stages and see if we can identify any value for the punters.
UEFA Europa League 2019/20 – Group A Odds
|Odds to Qualify
|Odds to Win
*Odds taken on 09/12/19
The 2015/16 finalists, Sevilla, are hot favorites to win Group A but who will join them in the knockout phase is far from clear-cut. We’ll take a look and see if we can narrow it down.
It’s hard to find an argument for the Spaniards not progressing, not least because of their impressive record in this competition. Starting in 2013/14, when they beat Benfica in the final on penalties, they went on an incredible run of three tournament wins in three seasons, beating FC Dnipro 3-2 in 2014/15 and Liverpool 3-1 in 2015/16.
Last season they left the competition in the earlier stages, narrowly losing out to Slavia Prague (6-5 on aggregate) in the round of 16.
Sevilla, five-time winners!
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 18, 2016
Ominously for the other three teams in Group A, the Spaniards have made a good start to their La Liga season with two fine away wins at Espanyol and Granada being followed up with a home draw with Celta Vigo. A large summer turnover of players with a net spend of over 50 million euros has seen them gear up for 2019/20 with a stronger squad than the one that ended last season.
Among a whole host of new faces are Rony Lopes from Monaco, Jules Kounde from Bordeaux and Luuk de Jong from PSV Eindhoven, all of whom have added to Sevilla’s strength in depth. There’s no way Sevilla are not going to win this group, and probably comfortably.
APOEL Nicosia (+700)
APOEL are by some way the most successful team in the history of Cypriot soccer with an impressive tally of 28 national championships, 21 cups, and 13 super cups.
As a result, they are regular competitors on the European stage with their greatest moment coming in the 2011–12 season, when they qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, in a group that also included FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Zenit St. Petersburg. In one of the Champions League’s biggest upsets, they went on to top the group before going on to beat Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16. It took the mighty Real Madrid to finally knock them out at the quarterfinal stage.
Tamari- Apoel Nicosia. Tricky attacking playing. Has been a handful for Ajax in the first half of their Champions League tie in Cyprus tonight. pic.twitter.com/8eWxkjFZuN
— PJ (@patcomey) August 20, 2019
So, while APOEL’s domestic football is not of the highest standard, and this is a club that has dealt only in free transfers this summer, they have considerable experience of European soccer and know what it takes to be successful.
They’re second-favorites to win the group for a reason.
Qarabag FK (+900)
Qarabag play in the Azerbaijan Premier League and in 2014 won their first league title for 21 years. Overall they have won the Premier League six times and the Azerbaijan Cup six. They became the second Azerbaijani team – after Neftçi PFK – to reach the group stages of a European competition when they made their first of three consecutive appearances in the Europa League group stages in 2014–15.
They were also the first Azerbaijani team to reach the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, which they did in 2017–18.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
FT // ?? APOEL FC 1 – 2 QARABAG FK ??
— Azerbaijan Premier League (@PremierLeagueAZ) August 6, 2019
They qualified for the Champions League qualifiers this season by virtue of winning the title and managed to get through the first two qualifying rounds before, ironically losing out to APOEL Nicosia in the third who they now meet again.
It was a two-legged win over Irish club Linfield in the Europa League playoff that finally earned them a place in the competition proper.
In many ways, the achievement is reaching the group stages but having made it they will now be looking at top two. And with the tiny Azersun Arena generating a white-hot atmosphere, they’ll be looking to pick up enough points at home to give themselves a chance.
F91 Dudelange (+5000)
Dudelange plays in the Luxembourg National Division and when they qualified for the 2018–19 Europa League became the first club from the country to reach the group stages of a European competition. They have now repeated the feat, having missed out on Champions League qualification in the first qualifying round, narrowly losing over two legs to Valletta of Malta.
However, they successfully negotiated two rounds of Europa League qualifying to earn their place in the group stages.
— Fudge (@Danfudge) April 14, 2019
Formed in 1991 as a merger between three teams in the city – Alliance Dudelange, Stade Dudelange and US Dudelange – they are a relatively new club but have been very successful domestically, winning the National Division 15 times and the Luxembourg Cup eight times.
Although a small club, they will see qualification for the Europa League knockout stages as the next phase of their rise.
My pick: Sevilla to win the group and Qarabag to finish runner-up
Additional SBD Europa League Group Previews