Eintracht Frankfurt host Chelsea in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final clash, kicking off at 9:00pm local time in German on Thursday night. Both sides have won the Europa League in their past, and will hope to reach another final to create more history for their respective clubs.
Home Team: Eintracht Frankurt
Frankfurt are a team continuously improving in the Bundesliga, as they have kicked on from winning the German Cup last season. The victory in the final against Bayern Munich, has kick-started what appears to be a golden generation for Frankfurt who currently occupy a top four spot in Bundesliga.
Obtaining Champions League football for next season was a realistic target at the start of the campaign, and they look set on achieving that through their league position, if not by winning this competition. In previous rounds, they had to overcome difficult ties against Inter Milan and Benfica.
Against the latter, they played the majority of the first leg with 10 men, but managed to overturn a 4-2 deficit from the first leg and win 2-0 to progress on away goals. The real danger man of Frankurt is young striker Luka Jovic, who has scored 25 goals this season, and 8 of them have come in the Europa League.
Away Team: Chelsea
Mauricio Sarri has had to take a lot of criticism at times during his first year in charge of Chelsea, but they are on the brink of reaching a European Cup final, as well as confirming a top four spot in the Premier League. Their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United this past weekend has put them in the prime position to get 4th in the Premier League, and therefore achieve Chelsea’s minimum objective.
Chelsea have had to knock out Slavia Prague and Dynamo Kiev to get to this stage, but undoubtedly this will be their toughest task. Olivier Giroud has been the top goal scorer for Chelsea in this competition with 10 goals in 12 matches. He tends to not start Premier League matches, but he has always made a big influence on Chelsea’s Europa League run.
Elsewhere, Eden Hazard remains to be the main man for Chelsea, but it’s looking as this will be his last season for the Blues, and he’ll want to end his Chelsea career on a high and win some silverware.
Head to Head
The sides have not met each other in a competitive game in their history.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Chelsea are slight favourites to win on the night at 6/4, with Frankfurt at 7/4. For the teams to draw, that is at 23/10. To qualify, Chelsea are strong favourites at 4/9, with Frankfurt at 13/8. Mauricio Sarri’s tactics seem to suit better the Europa League, and I can see Chelsea progressing to the final.
However, this game will not be easy, and I will tip a narrow home 2-1 win for Frankfurt at 12/1. Luka Jovic is favourites to score for the hosts at any time at 6/5, but for better value, I’d back Jonathan de Guzman at 7/2. For the visitors, you’d have to back Olivier Giroud at 7/2. Frankurt and Chelsea were involved in 6 goal thrillers in the previous round, so backing them to conjure up more than 4.5 goals in this first leg is at a generous 5/1.
Alternatively, semi-finals can often be very cagey, so backing there to be less than 1.5 goals at 5/2 should be considered.
Finally, if you opt for that way of thinking it will be a cagey game, you can maximise your earnings by correctly guessing when the first goal will happen – so you should also consider backing the first goal to be scored between minutes 61-70 at 14/1.[geot country="US,CA" ]
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