- Portuguese giants Porto (+100) open at even-money to top Group G after spending five of past six seasons in Champions League
- Feyenoord (+340) and Rangers (+375) seen as roughly equal underdogs to upstage Porto
- Swiss outfit Young Boys (+500) not expected to mount a challenge, though could advance
The Europa League kicks off this week, and this edition of group previews lands on Group G: Porto, Feyenoord, Rangers and Young Boys.
At first glance, this is a fairly even group: All four are capable of earning results against their group mates, with no obvious 0-0-6 or five-win teams as is regularly the case in the UEL group stage.
Odds to Win UEFA Europa League Group G
|Team||Odds to Qualify||Odds to Win|
*All odds taken 09/16/19
With that said, let’s take a look at each play.
The Favorite: Porto (+100)
Simply put, this isn’t the competition that manager Sergio Conceicao, his charges or the club’s board wanted to be in.
Porto went crashing out in a home defeat against Russian side Krasnodar in the Champions League playoff round, and find themselves in the Europa League group stage for the first time since 2010-11 — the year they lifted the trophy in Dublin.
There’s plenty of talent in the squad — Agustin Marchesin is strong in goal, and the addition of Ze Luis has given them an added punch up front — and if Conceicao can have them playing to their potential, there is no reason Porto shouldn’t sweep its home matches and get results away from home.
Possible, but Tricky: Feyenoord (+340)
Feyenoord are an interesting proposition as the best of the rest from last year’s Eredivisie; more than 15 points off the pace of title contenders Ajax and PSV, Gio Van Bronckhorst’s squad also finished seven clear of fourth-place AZ Alkmaar.
Jaap Stam took over in June, and the club is off to a mediocre (1-3-0) start this season.
The squad isn’t one that makes you say ‘wow’ — former FIFA cult hero Luciano Narsingh scored in their qualifying win over Dinamo Tbilisi — but they’re sure to be well-coached and defensive away from De Kuip.
Unlikely: Rangers (+375)
We know, it’s a new era for Rangers under Steven Gerrard.
Well, not really: The club failed to get out of a Europa League group with Villareal, Spartak Moscow and Rapid Wien last year, and if a 2-0 home defeat in the first edition of the Old Firm Derby this season is any indication, the ‘Gers will be in tough against decent continental competition.
There is still quality here; Alfredo Morelos is a proven finisher, while Sheyi Ojo and Joe Aribo have shown promise early this season.
Celtic and Rangers are a clear step ahead of their domestic competition, but continentally remain irrelevant — while Rangers may escape the group, don’t expect enough consistent performances for them to top it.
Longshot: Young Boys (+500)
The odds on Young Boys aren’t even that long for a projected fourth-place team in the group, and that’s because Young Boys are about as good as a last-place team can be in the Europa League group stage.
Gerardo Seoane’s squad won the Swiss League title running away last season, and are undefeated in six (4-2-0) to begin the campaign. Club legend Guillaume Hoarau, formerly of PSG, has been bagging goals for YB since joining back in 2014 and should be fun to watch in Group G play.
With that said, the Swiss League isn’t known for its quality and it’s unlikely Young Boys will have a shout at first place — though they could very well advance out of Group G.
Additional SBD Europa League Group Previews
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