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Europa Conference League matchday 3 previews, predictions and odds

Below are previews of all 16 Europa Conference League matchday three fixtures.

İstanbul Başakşehir, West Ham United, Villarreal, AZ and Basel are are looking to continue their perfect starts.

UEFA Europa Conference League group stage tables

Group A: Heart of Midlothian vs Fiorentina

Not many would’ve predicted that Heart of Midlothian would be second in this group by the time this mouthwatering fixture came around.

This looked even less likely when Robbie Neilson’s side were demolished 4-0 by İstanbul Başakşehir on matchday one.

But, a week later, Hearts bounced back spectacularly, beating RFS 2-0 in Rīga.

Lawrence Shankland’s inch-perfect penalty and then Alan Forrest’s late clincher rubber stamping a famous away win.

Fiorentina meantime were fully expected to secure a top two finish, but kick off in Edinburgh propping up the rest.

First, I Viola could only draw 1-1 with minnows RFS at home, despite taking the lead through Antonín Barák.

A week later, they were hammered 3-0 by İstanbul Başakşehir; Pierluigi Gollini punished for some calamitous goalkeeping in Turkey.

Meanwhile, Vincenzo Italiano’s team are 11th in Serie A, losing 1-0 to Atalanta on Sunday, meaning they’ve only won one of their last ten in all competitions.

Hearts meanwhile were demolished 4-0 by Rangers on Saturday, with Cammy Devlin’s first half red card not helping their cause.

Nevertheless, the home fans will sense that Fiorentina are there for the taking, so will Tynecastle witness a famous victory?

Group A: RFS vs İstanbul Başakşehir

Will İstanbul Başakşehir make it three wins out of three in Group A?

Emre Belözoğlu’s team first demolished Hearts 4-0 at Tynecastle before, a week later, swatting aside Fiorentina at home.

Serdar Gürler bagging a brace, before Bertrand Traoré sealed a 3-0 victory at Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu.

Given that the Grey Owls are also top of the Süper Lig, having conceded just one goal so far, they could be dark horses in this competition.

RFS meanwhile showed they are capable of springing a surprise on matchday one, drawing 1-1 in Florence, thanks to Andrej Ilić’s late equaliser.

However, a week later, the Virslīga champions came crashing back down to earth, beaten 2-0 by Hearts.

The Latvian club, competing in their first-ever group stage, were expected to be the group’s whipping boys, but this hasn’t been the case so far.

Nevertheless, the Turkish visitors are likely to be too strong at Skonto stadions.

Group B: Anderlecht vs West Ham United

West Ham have been flawless in the Europa Conference League so are looking to extend that 100% record here.

Including the qualification victory over Viborg, the Hammers have won four out of four in this competition, scoring three goals each time.

In the group, they came from behind to defeat FCSB 3-1 at home before, a week later, seeing off Silkeborg in Denmark.

Manuel Lanzini, Gianluca Scamacca and Craig Dawson on target in that 3-2 success.

West Ham United reached the semi-finals of last season’s Europa League, so are hoping to go even better in a lower-tier competition.

Here, they’ll face a rematch of the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup Final, a game Anderlecht won 4-2, claiming the first of their five major European honours.

These days, the Purple and Whites are back in a UEFA group stage after a four-year exile, but do currently sit second.

First, Fábio Silva’s late penalty downed Silkeborg in Brussels, before Felice Mazzù’s team battled to a goalless draw at Arena Națională in Bucharest.

Domestically, Anderlecht are down in tenth place, following Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to Charleroi.

In fairness, West Ham aren’t exactly flying high in the Premier League, sat 15th, despite Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Wolves.

Nevertheless, the Irons should be too strong at Lotto Park.

Group B: Silkeborg vs FCSB

Group B’s winless bottom two go head-to-head in Denmark.

This is Silkeborg’s first-ever appearance in a UEFA group stage, but they’re yet to get off the mark.

First, Kent Nielsen’s team were beaten 1-0 in Brussels by Anderlecht.

Then, despite taking the lead through Kasper Kusk, West Ham came back and left Silkeborg 3-2 winners.

FCBS meantime, who won the European Cup in 1986, are featuring in their first group stage for five seasons.

The Red and Blues lost 3-1 at the London Stadium, before being held to a goalless draw by Anderlecht at Arena Națională.

Thus, the upcoming double-header between these two could be crucial as both seek to get back in the hunt for second.

Will Silkeborg make home advantage count at JYSK Park?

Group C: Villarreal vs Austria Wien

Villarreal were the favourites to top this group before a ball was kicked, and this is exactly how it’s transpired.

El Submarino Amarillo beat Lech Poznań 4-3 at home, before battling to a 2-1 victory over Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

José Luis Morales and Álex Baena on target at Turner Stadium in Israel.

Under Unai Emery, Villarreal won the Europa League in 2021 and reached last season’s Champions League semi-finals.

Thus, the Yellow Submarine have to be amongst the favourites to lift this trophy in June.

Austria Wien meantime are competing in a first UEFA Group stage since 2017.

Die Veilchen were demolished 4-1 in Poland on matchday two, having held Hapoel Be’er Sheva to a goalless draw in Vienna a week earlier.

This is a far from ideal start for Manfred Schmid’s team as they seek a top two finish.

At their temporary home of Estadi Ciutat de València, will Villarreal be too strong?

Group C: Lech Poznań vs Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Will Lech Poznań’s outstanding European home form continue?

On matchday two, the Polish champions hammered Austria Wien 4-1; Mikael Ishak, Michał Skóraś and Kristoffer Velde scoring.

This means John van den Brom’s side have won all five home games in UEFA competition, scoring 16 and conceding just two.

If the Railwaymen are going to get out of this group, their form in Poland will remain key.

Hapoel Be’er Sheva meantime drew 0-0 in Vienna in their group opener, before beating beaten by Villarreal a week later.

To date, the Israeli side have won just one of ten UEFA group stage away matches, this coming at San Siro against Inter six years ago.

So, a home win seems likely at Stadion Poznań.

Group D: Köln vs Partizan Belgrade

Can Köln pull clear at the top of Group D?

The Bundesliga side are the only team to have recorded a victory in this section, beating Slovácko 4-2 on matchday two.

Sargis Adamyan and Florian Dietz scoring, before Dejan Ljubičić bagged a brace at RheinEnergieStadion.

Having drawm at Allianz Riviera a week earlier, Steffen Baumgart’s team will be on the cusp of the knockout stages if they’re victorious here.

Full of confidence after beating Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, will die Geißböcke win again?

Partizan meantime have taken a point from both matches, 3-3 with Slovácko and then 1-1 when Nice visited Belgrade.

Fousseni Diabaté, once of Leicester City, scoring three of their four goals.

The Black-Whites reached the round of 16 in this competition just last season, their best run on the continent since 2005.

However, if Gordan Petrić’s team are going to be part of the knockout stages again, they need points from this double-header with Köln.

Group D: Slovácko vs Nice

Can Nice claim their first victory of this group stage?

So far, the Eagles have drawn both matches 1-1.

Andy Delort converted a penalty when Köln visited Allianz Riviera, while Joe Bryan broke the deadlock in Belgrade a week later.

This is Nice’s fourth UEFA group stage, all since 2016, but two of the previous three have resulted in them finishing bottom.

Here, it’s Czech Cup winners Slovácko, making their maiden group phase appearance, who are propping up the rest.

Their two matches have produced a whopping 12 goals, holding Partizan to a 3-3 draw, before a 4-2 defeat in Germany.

Jan Kalabiška scoring three of their five goals, but Martin Svědík will be concerned with his team’s charitable defending.

So, will Nice leave Městský fotbalový stadion with three crucial points?

Group E: AZ Alkmaar vs Apollon Limassol

Will AZ’s perfect start to this group stage continue?

So far, the Cheeseheads have won 1-0 against Dnipro-1, before hammering Vaduz 4-1 at home.

Yusuf Barası, Sam Beukema, Yukinari Sugawara and Dani de Wit all on target in the latter.

So, including qualifiers, Pascal Jansen’s team have won all four European home games this season, scoring 16 goals.

Thus, this is a tough assignment for Apollon Limassol, who have just one point on the board.

David Català’s team battled to a goalless draw in Liechtenstein, but were then hammered 3-1 by Dnipro-1 in Nicosia a week later.

This is the Cypriot champions’ fifth appearance in a UEFA group stage, aiming to finish in the top two for the first time ever.

A home win seems very likely at AFAS Stadion.

Group E: Dnipro-1 vs Vaduz

After a memorable victory on the road on matchday two, will Dnipro-1 start to build some momentum?

Three weeks ago, Valentyn Rubchynskyi broke the deadlock and then Artem Dovbyk bagged a brace as they beat Apollon Limassol 3-1 in Nicosia.

This season is their first-ever appearance in a UEFA group stage, although they are the phoenix club of 2015 Europa League Finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

At their temporary home in Košice (Slovakia), will Oleksandr Kucher’s team claim another win?

Vaduz meanwhile are actually second bottom of Switzerland’s second-tier, but have become the first-ever Liechtenstein-based club to make it to a group stage.

Alessandro Mangiarratti’s team held Apollon to a goalless draw on debut, but were then hammered 4-1 by AZ.

They’ll be hoping Anthony Goelzer’s equaliser in Alkmaar is the only goal they manage during this group phase.

Dnipro-1 will very much fancy their chances of victory at Košická futbalová aréna.

Group F: Molde vs Shamrock Rovers

Group F’s winless bottom two clash in Norway.

This is Shamrock Rovers’ first UEFA group stage appearance since 2011 so, given that, they were widely expected to finish bottom.

The Irish champions did hold Djurgården to a goalless draw in Dublin, but were hammered 3-0 by Gent a week later.

So, Stephen Bradley’s team are still seeking their first goal and first win of this group phase.

Molde meanwhile are 15 points clear at the top of the Eliteserien, with just six games to go, but are struggling for form in this group.

Erling Moe’s men drew 0-0 with Gent in their opener, before then suffering a shock 3-2 defeat in Stockholm last time out.

Datro Fofana scored a penalty, and was later sent off, as Djurgårdens IF prevailed, thanks to a stoppage time winner.

Thus, the Norwegian league-leaders know they can’t afford to drop points in this double-header with Shamrock Rovers.

Will Molde prevail at Røkkeløkka?

Group F: Gent vs Djurgården

Who will take control at the top of Group F?

So far, Gent haven’t even conceded a goal, drawing 0-0 in Molde before a comfortable 3-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers.

Hugo Cuypers breaking the deadlock at Ghelamco Arena with Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe then bagging a brace.

What’s far more surprising is that visitors Djurgårdens IF, making their group phase debut, are also on four points.

They left Dublin with a scoreless draw, before beating Molde 3-2 in a Nordic derby on matchday two.

Amadou Doumbouya, Emmanuel Banda and Joel Asoro all scoring in Stockholm, the latter doing so in stoppage time, sparking wild celebrations.

So, will either side pull three points clear at the top with victory in Belgium?

Group G: Slavia Prague vs CFR Cluj

This season’s Europa Conference League Final will take place at Slavia Prague’s stadium and, the way they’re going, the Czech club might just be there.

Right now, the Slavists sit top of Group G, having drawn with Sivasspor in Turkey, before beating Ballkani at home.

Peter Olayinka scoring in both fixtures, while Lukáš Masopust got the winner in the five-goal thriller three weeks ago.

Under Jindřich Trpišovský, Slavia reached the Europa League quarter-finals in 2019 and 2021, also getting to the last eight of this competition just last season.

All in all, Slavia Praha are not easy to beat.

So, a tough task for CFR Cluj, particularly given that they kick off at the foot of the table.

Yuri Matias rescued a point in Kosovo in their group opener, but Sivasspor left Transylvania 1-0 winners a week later.

Dan Petrescu’s team finished rock bottom of their group 12 months ago, so have now won just one of their last 12 group fixtures.

Thus, a home win at Fortuna Arena seems likely.

Group G: Sivasspor vs Ballkani

Will Sivasspor’s unbeaten start to this group continue?

First, Dia Saba’s equaliser helped them hold Slavia Praha to a 1-1 draw in Turkey.

Then, a week later, Max-Alain Gradel’s emphatic penalty was enough to secure victory over Cluj at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu.

The Turkish Cup winners’ only previous group stage campaign came in 2020, finishing third, but they’re well on track to better that already.

Ballkani meanwhile have become the first-ever Kosovar side to compete in a UEFA group phase.

So far, they’ve held Cluj to a 1-1 draw in Pristina, Armend Thaçi scoring, before a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in Prague on matchday two.

All the goals came in the first half, with Ermal Krasniqi and Meriton Korenica scoring in vain for the visitors.

Given all of that, a home win is set to be on the cards at New Sivas 4 Eylül Stadium.

Group H: Basel vs ŠK Slovan Bratislava

Basel were big favourites to top this group when the draw was made, and they’re already three points clear.

First, the Swiss side beat Pyunik 3-1 at home, thanks largely to Wouter Burger’s brace.

Then, Brighton loanee Andi Zeqiri was the only scorer in a 1-0 victory over Žalgiris in Vilnius.

RotBlau reached the round of 16 of this tournament last year and, now led by club legend Alexander Frei, are hoping for an even deeper run.

ŠK Slovan Bratislava meantime lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969, but have only ever finished third or fourth in a modern-day group stage.

So far, the Slovakian champions have been held to a goalless draw by Žalgiris, before a surprise 2-0 defeat in Yerevan.

Vladimír Weiss’ team need points if they’re to avoid being cut adrift, but Basel are likely to be far too strong at St. Jakob-Park.

Group H: Pyunik vs Žalgiris Vilnius

Can Pyunik make it back-to-back victories in the Europa Conference League?

On matchday two, Artak Dashyan and Yusuf Otubanjo were on target as the Armenian champions beat ŠK Slovan Bratislava 2-0.

Pyunik are competing in their first-ever UEFA group stage, but another victory here would leave Yegishe Melikyan’s team in pole position to reach the knockouts.

Žalgiris Vilnius meanwhile have become the first-ever Lithuanian side to feature in a group phase.

However, Vladimir Cheburin’s team are yet to score, drawing in Bratislava before a 1-0 home reverse against Basel.

Thus, the home fans at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium will be confident of seeing a victory.


Picture of Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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