Qualification for the Europa League proper is quite the confusing beast. There are two paths -the Champions Path and the Main Path – with teams from all over Europe attempting to reach the group stage. It is such a strange process that you would be hard-pressed to find a player taking part in the competition that could tell you how it works. Having said that, the prize at the end – a giant trophy and place in the 2020-21 Champions League – makes the potential grind worth it.
Here are some quick takes on the standout matches that are coming up this weekend.
Pyunik Yerevan FC vs. Wolves
Wolves have been busy in the transfer market this summer as they look to bolster their squad and make a real run in this competition. It is unlikely many of the big-name imports will be playing against the Armenian champions away from home, but the likes of Patrick Cutrone and Jesus Vallejo will be important pieces moving forward. The 6,370-mile round trip match will be played in front of a hostile and passionate crowd, but don’t overthink this one.
Riga FC vs. HJK Helsinki
A much closer game should play out between Riga FC of Latvia and HJK Helsinki of Finland. These are a pair of teams who have fallen into the Europa League qualifiers after being knocked out of the Champions League at the qualification stage, and both will think they have a real chance of progressing here. Riga have been strong at home in European competition since their formation in 2014 (W2 D1 L0), but it has to be noted that this match isn’t taking place in their home stadium. Neither of these teams scores a lot of goals, so a total goals scored of under 2.5 at 0.56 is interesting.
Prediction: Take the home side at 1.78 with BetXChange.
FK Haugesund vs. PSV Eindhoven
PSV are a team that could make a real run in this competition, at least until all the Champions League group stage failures get dumped back into the pool. Their next test comes in the form of Norwegian side FK Haugesund. After being knocked out of the Champions League by FC Basel, PSV will be looking to kickstart their European adventure here.
Prediction: Take PSV at 0.64 and feel free to throw them into an accumulator.
FK Sutjeska vs. Linfield
Linfield are always a team that seem to flash in this competition before falling to a bigger club. They will like their draw here that sees them taking on the Montenegrin champions after getting by HB Torshavn in the last round. New signings such as Bastirn Hery and Shayne Lavery have looked good for the Northern Irish champions and they will be confident stealing a draw here for them to take back to Belfast.
Prediction: Look for this one to play out in an entertaining draw at 2.55.
Other Tie Predictions
|SK Slovan Bratislava vs. Dundalk FC||SK Slovan Bratislava to qualify|
|Universitatea Craiova 1948 vs. AEK Athens FC||AEK Athens FC to qualify|
|Malmo FF vs. KSK Zrinjski Mostar||Malmo FF to qualify|
|Feyenoord vs. FC Dinamo Tbilisi||Feyenoord to qualify|
|FC Vaduz vs. Eintracht Frankfurt||Eintracht Frankfurt to qualify|
|FC Torino vs. FC Shakhter Soligorsk||Fc Torino to qualify|