Our Europa League Tips - 17/02/22

Grant McQuillan

Barcelona v Napoli: Mertens to score first and either Napoli to win 2-0 or 2-1

This Barcelona generation of fans enter entirely unknown territory on Thursday night as the club play in the Europa League for the first time since 2004. They'll meet with a Napoli side completely use to this part of the world, however, with them playing in eight of them over the past decade including losing to Granada in the round of 16 last season.

In 2021/22 though, the two are in entirely contrasting positions with Napoli challenging for the title during a period where Serie A is the most competitive league in Europe once more with all over leagues, like La Liga, having one standout figure.

In this time, Dries Mertens is boasting his best goalscoring ratio for the club since the mid-2010s as he now has seven league goals in 19 games. During this period too, Barcelona just can't find any consistency as they drew 2-2 with 13th-placed Espanyol not long after beating Atletico Madrid 4-2.

Off the back of Napoli's impressive 1-1 draw with champions and title favourites, Inter Milan, we're backing Mertens to score first and either Napoli to win 2-0 or 2-1.

Europa League Tips



Dortmund v Rangers: Dortmund to win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2

In what is perhaps the most competitive Europa League in recent memory and while two of the favourites slug it out at the Nou Camp, Borussia Dortmund will be hyped up and ready to take on a Rangers side entering the tie as the 7/1 underdogs on the night.

Rangers have picked themselves up greatly since their 3-0 Old Firm loss which pushed Celtic to the top of the table, with the Gers scoring a combined 10 goals and conceding 0 against Hearts, Hibernian and Annan Athletic.

Dortmund, however, thrashed Union Berlin away from home in a must-win game to keep up their title quest, as they now sit six points behind Bayern Munich. What all but sums up BVB's season so far is the fact they've managed to score 57 times and concede 36 in the league and how over 2.5 goals have come within in their last seven games.

Even then, the game prior to this streak, they smashed Besiktas 5-0 in Europe.

Europa League Tips


DORTMUND TO WIN 3-0, 3-1 OR 3-2 @ 10/3

RB Leipzig v Real Sociedad: Nkunku to score and win

Dortmund, Napoli, and Barcelona are all up there as the favourites, but RB Leipzig will be right there too alongside Real Sociedad in this incredible Europa League campaign. Leipzig's season has been tremendously underwhelming in their first campaign without Julian Nagelsmann, but despite their 12-point gap on second-placed Dortmund and 18 on Bayern, they do now sit fourth following their 3-1 win over Koln.

Christopher Nkunku scored yet again in that game to make it 19 goals in 31 games this season in what has been a stunning campaign for the 24-year-old who has now become a very wanted man.

The Frenchman has scored seven of these goals in the Champions League as he sits as the second top scorer in the competition and we think he'll get the win here for his side. Sociedad's damaging three-game losing streak came to an end at the weekend as they beat Granada 3-0, but it still seems too much for Leipzig right now.

Europa League Tips



Porto v Lazio: Lazio to win and both teams to score

Porto have been sensational all season long as they are still unbeaten in the Primeira Liga after winning 19 games and drawing only three. This has seen the club score an excellent 57 goals and concede only 16. However, their Champions League campaign saw them beat only AC Milan at home in a 1-0 win, as they were thrashed by Liverpool in both ties and lost 3-1 to Atletico Madrid.

Lazio made slightly hard work of their own Europa League campaign as they won only two of the six games, but with scoring seven and conceding only three, Ciro Immobile and co. are still a threat to anyone. Immobile himself has 23 goals this season and with 19 in 21 games inside Serie A and three in six in Europe, the Italian is outscoring almost everyone on the continent.

Lazio have been on the up in Serie A recently too, and have now moved into sixth and even just four points off fourth-placed Juventus, and we think they'll get the result against Portugal's best here.

Europa League Tips



Zenit v Real Betis: Betis to win and under 3.5 goals

Around Europe within the past two years, the football landscape has greatly changed and clubs usually further down the bottom have risen closer to the top. One of these sides doing this better than most is Real Betis, who sit in third in La Liga and are on course for their best league campaign since they won the title back in the 1930s.

Now, following a 4-2 hammering over Levante in the league and a 2-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, the club are on course for a top four finish and a Copa del Rey final.

Juanmi has scored 14 goals in 24 games for Betis, and as well as 10 goals in 26 games for Borja Iglesias, the club are well-positioned to take a solid win back to Spain here. Zenit are still, however, top of the Russian Premier League and with only two defeats and 11 wins in 18 games, the giants of Russia are still up for this battle and Betis won't have it incredibly easy.

Europa League Tips