Quaterfinal 1st leg 2012 - Fight for the Europa Trophy
By Joe, bettingexpert.com | Edited
Google+: Joe Bexpert
The Europa League Quarterfinals are boosted with three Spanish teams and two German sides, all wanting to lift the Trophy awaiting them in May. Four Quarterfinals 1st leg matches are to be held this midweek Thursday and some are looking to make a comfortable start in order to make it to the next round.
AZ Alkmaar vs. Valencia
The last Dutch side in Europe and it's a premier appearance as they are on top of the Eredivise. AZ Alkmaar are really taking this competition serious, so seriously that they are unbeaten at home in eight games. This team is very much capable of scoring goals and disposing Udinese in the last 16. AZ Alkmaar showed once again why they are leading the Dutch league, winning ugly with a 1-0 over WaalWijk, they will need that sort of mindset on Thursday.
Valencia is one of the three Spanish teams left in this competition and what are the chances that the seaside team are one of them. They are a tough side and a little bit of a glimpse of the successful side that has won both the UEFA Cup and Champions League. A young new set of talents showed much physically attributes in knocking out English side, Stoke City, meaning they are no push overs. However their run up to the midweek match showed a bit of knock in their play, against 9 man Zaragoza, they managed to lose 2-1 at home after going 1-0 up with a P. Hernandez strike.
AZ to take a narrow lead to Spain and they are capable to go on and go through to the next round, but Valencia will try to hold down the fort.
Schalke 04 vs. Athletic Bilbao
Germany will be represented with two teams in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Schalke 04 will be the highest ranked team coming out from the Bundesliga and they ought to be one of the favourites going forward. They knocked Dutch outfit, Twente, out of the competition and third in the Bundesliga, Schalke 04 is gunning for some silverware and it looks likely that it will come from their European campaign. As long they have one man, Dutch striker, Klass-Jan Huntelaar then they are in good hands, just like in their 2-0 win over Leverkusen on the weekend.
This is the team that knocked out Manchester United in the last 16. This is no team to underestimate and very much, their last game showed just what they are intending to do in this competition. However judging by their league form then it might not be that promising as a mid-table range is all they can manage for now. This is a team that looks towards their Europa League midweek games as a priority so they will do their upmost. Their run up in taking on Schalke 04 showed a bit of weakness as they lost 2-1 away to Atletico Madrid.
No one really gets away from Klass Jan Huntelaar scoring prowess and Bilbao is going to feel it on Thursday evening. Bilbao will try to go forward like they did against Manchester United but Schalke 04 would have studied this. Schalke 04 to win.
Sporting Lisabon vs. Metalist Kharkiv
Eliminating the Saudi muilti-millionaire team Manchester City in the last round, Sporting Lissabon will be using that as a platform to take further into this competition. That win surely will give them confidence and knowing that they have won all four of their previous games against Ukrainian side, but first team meeting Metalist Kharkiv, and a ferocious record of winning nine of out their last ten games at home, surely this is no fluke that the Portuguese got into the quarterfinals. An easy weekend 1-0 win over Feirense saw yet another three points from a penalty by D. Capel.
The side is an unknown quantity and their second travel to Portugal to face Sporting for the first time. However as the competition rolls on, Metalist have shown one thing they can do and that is scoring and scoring so much they top the chart with 25 goals. Their philosophy is plain and simple and that is to attack. This team is about fighting fire with fire and that is what they do best. Former Sporting player, Marco Torsiglieri, will be returning to their former employer and maybe just give something for them to remember by. Away form in their domestic league saw them lose 4-2 to Arsenal Kyiv but once again they scored twice.
We are staring at goals and expect goals on the night too. So let’s go for an over 2.5 goals first and worry about who will win. The end point looks to Sporting as favourites to go through to the next round, so hopefully taking the advantage to Ukraine will be a good start.
Atletico Madrid vs. Hannover 96
Another Spanish team and the last one, just like Bilbao, mid-table and also looking for some silverware in Europe. They are other high scoring teams when it comes to the Europa League and at home, Atletico Madrid are very much in control. Their main man has to be Portuguese R. Falcao who lifted the home side on the weekend with two goals to dispose fellow countrymen and rivals, Bilbao. It is a huge boost for the team to go in knowing they can win at home. Atletico Madrid will be hoping to make the Europa League an all Spanish affair just like the Portuguese did last year.
Hannover is the second German team in this competition, however they fall short when it comes to a comparison to Schalke 04. There is a bit of realism with this team as they think they are not capable of dominating the Bundesliga, somehow looked toward Europe as their playing ground. They have done very well in Europe but domestically they have shown that they haven’t got the consistency nor the edge as they lost 2-1 away to Bayern. Although, credit should be given as Hannover’s strike force is a powerful one and one that can score on any ground.
Hannover 96 is not an away team and they show that insecurity when they are on foreign ground. Atletico Madrid are a very experienced side when it comes to the Europa League but maybe with an inexperienced squad in this campaign just shows that they hunger for more. Surely will be able to get a good result before taking up the 2nd leg in Germany.
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