By News Team
24th November 2021
As we head into the penultimate matchday of the Group stages of the Europa League, West Ham and Leicester look likely to make inroads on their opponents but Celtic may be up against it from the off.
Check out our preview below.
Rapid Vienna v West Ham
West Ham continue their European adventure when travelling to Rapid Vienna where a victory will mean finishing top of the group.
As for the hosts, they head into the game with a different sort of pressure, they will need to earn three points to stand any chance of progressing into the next round. They currently sit at the bottom of Group H having registered just one win so far. Rapid Vienna are not in complete control of their destiny either, as a victory will not guarantee qualification as they need other results to go their way to keep the dream alive.
Defensively they have struggled at times in this group having conceded seven goals so far, which, given West Ham’s attacking options, should be cause for concern. The London side have found the back of the net on nine occasions in the competition so far, with two of those coming against Rapid Vienna. In that fixture they secured a 2-0 victory with Declan Rice and Said Benrahma getting on the scoresheet.
Despite this, and the fact The Hammers have already qualified, David Moyes will not want to see his side take any chances, and it is for that reason they are the heavy favourites at 6/10, while Rapid Vienna are a 9/2 shot.
Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic
Three points for Bayer Leverkusen in this fixture will secure qualification to the last 32 while victory for Celtic could move them into the top two if Real Betis were to drop points.
Bayern Leverkusen have been struggling for form of late, going five games without a victory across all competitions, but they have managed to find some sort of rhythm most recently, with two wins and a draw from their last three, which will disappoint the Celtic loyal no end. An impressive 4-0 win against Real Betis in their most recent Europa League outing has cemented their place at the top of the table, three points clear of their nearest pursuers. Their European campaign has proved fruitful so far this season, securing 10 points from a possible 12 and scoring 11 goals in the process.
Four of those goals were scored in Scotland when they faced Celtic in the reverse fixture, securing a 4-0 victory. Celtic do arrive in good form, as they’re now unbeaten in nine matches across all competitions, but that form doesn’t tell the story of their Europa League campaign this year which has been a mixed bag. After losing their opening two fixtures in the competition conceding four goals against both Leverkusen and Betis, they have gone on to secure maximum points in home and away fixtures against Ferencvaros, which now leaves them trailing Real Betis in third by just one point.
Victory in this fixture will guarantee they’re still in the running come the start of December but Celtic aren’t fancied to do it and can be backed at 11/2 meanwhile Bayer Leverkusen are the heavy favourites at 4/9.
Leicester City v Legia Warsaw
Things couldn’t be closer in this fixture with the two sides separated by just one point in Group C. Leicester welcome Polish champions Legia Warsaw to the King Power Stadium for a potentially decisive encounter.
Since the Foxes defeat to Legia on the second matchday, which left them with just one point from a possible six and in danger of being cut adrift, a minor revival has kept Leicester in the hunt for a place in the last 32.
The former Premier League champions were 2-0 down in Moscow last month just before the half time interval, with the writing seemingly on the wall stand-in striker Patson Daka took matters into his own hands, netting four times and leaving Leicester to pick up three points at baggage reclaim.
The Foxes are still in a perilous position coming into this fixture, so Brendan Rodgers side will hope their unbeaten record at the King Power throughout their five previous Europa League games will stand them in good stead.
Legia are not in great domestic form it has to be said, the current title holders sit just a place above the foot of the table with more than a third of the season gone. Leicester look much more likely to do the damage in this fixture and that’s reflected in their favouritism at 2/11 while a win for Legia would come as a true surprise at 16/1.