Chelsea welcome Frankfurt to Stamford Bridge for the 2nd leg of their Europa League semi-final, kicking off at 8:00pm on Thursday night. The teams head into the 2nd leg all square, after a 1-1 draw in the first meeting.
Home Team: Chelsea
Chelsea have seen their fortunes turned around quite drastically in recent weeks, as they have secured a top four spot in the Premier League. Throughout the 2nd half of the season, many would have anticipated Tottenham, Arsenal, and even at times, Manchester United to finish above them in the league.
Chelsea have the toughest end to the season in terms of fixtures, but have conjured up more points than their rivals. This past weekend, their 3-0 success over Watford, combined with all of their rivals failing to win, secured a top four position in the league. With that in the bag, Chelsea can enjoy their Europa League journey, as they don’t need to win it to achieve their season’s objective – Champions League football.
In the previous leg, Chelsea grew in confidence and looked assured when taking a 1-1 draw back to Stamford Bridge, and will say that they did a professional job. Eden Hazard was rested for that match, but there are no doubts he’ll be starting on Thursday, which could potentially be his last match at Stamford Bridge as a Chelsea player. Can he produce a majestic performance to get Chelsea through?
Away Team: Eintracht Frankfurt
Frankfurt, like Chelsea, have had two opportunities to qualify for the Champions League next season, but unlike Chelsea, they were not expected to do so well in either route. Frankfurt have built on from their German Cup success last season, and have been in excellent form throughout the year.
Going into the final two matches of the Bundesliga season, they occupy 4th spot in the league, and of course, are 90 minutes away from a Europa League final. Frankfurt would like to emulate their 1980 success in the UEFA Cup, but a huge task at Stamford Bridge awaits them. They’ll be underdogs, but hope they can take the fight they showed at Benfica with 10 men, and also their success at the San Siro against Inter Milan into this fixture.
At the weekend, Frankfurt rotated some key players, and ended up on the wrong side of a battering, as they lost 6-1 to direct rivals Bayer Leverkusen. At such a crucial stage of the season, they’ll hope that they can recover quickly, as they still have so much to play for.
Head to Head
The sides have only played once in their history, and that was the first leg that resulted in a 1-1 draw this past Thursday.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Chelsea are overwhelming favourites to win on the night at 4/11, with Frankfurt at 7/1. For the sides to draw, which could see the game going into extra time, is at 19/5. To qualify, Chelsea are at 1/6, with Frankfurt at 7/2. Chelsea looked as if they were a different level of quality as the game went on in Germany, and at home, you’ll expect them to have too much firepower for Frankfurt. My score line prediction would be to back a 2-0 win at 6/1.
To boost your chances of winning, you can back Chelsea to win 1-0, 2-0 OR 2-1 at 7/4. Eden Hazard is likely to get on the score sheet, so you bet on him to score at any time (19/20), or even add him to a score cast in a 2-0 win at 15/1. If you would like to back the visitors in some capacity, then you can back them to win either half at 3/1, or even lead the game at half-time at 6/1.
Finally, for the tipsters, Chelsea can go out on away goals if the game finishes 2-2, so for that score line to happen, as it did in Chelsea’s recent match to Burnley at home, it’s priced at a generous 18/1.[geot country="US,CA" ]
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