Close this search box.

Europa Conference League matchday 6 previews, predictions and odds

It’s the final matchday of the Europa Conference League group stages.

Eight teams have booked their places in the knockout stages, namely İstanbul Başakşehir, Fiorentina, West Ham United, Villarreal, AZ, Dnipro-1, Djurgården and Sivasspor.

14 clubs are still fighting for the remaining eight spots, meaning something is on the line in all groups.

Below are previews of all 16 matchday six fixtures.

Group A: İstanbul Başakşehir vs Heart of Midlothian

This’ll be Heart of Midlothian’s final European game of the season, so will they bow out in style?

Having finished third last season, the Jambos are competing in Europe for the first time since 2016, with this their first group stage appearance for 18 years.

Lawrence Shankland’s close-range finish and then Andy Halliday’s deflected shot sealing the three points.

Against Group A’s top two though, Robbie Neilson’s side have been simply outclassed.

İstanbul Başakşehir won 4-0 in Edinburgh on matchday one while, in two meetings with Fiorentina, Hearts have been hammered 3-0 and 5-1.

So, this represents the end of the line for the Scottish side, who are desperate to be back competing at this level again next season.

As for the Turkish club, they need a victory to cling onto first place.

A week ago, despite taking the lead through Danijel Aleksić, the Grey Owls were beaten 2-1 at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Emre Belözoğlu’s team do remain above Fiorentina on head-to-head but, with I Viola likely to win in Rīga, they must do the same.

İstanbul Başakşehir’s best run in a UEFA competition came in 2020, reaching the round of 16, with a victory here guaranteeing they’ll match that.

Will the home side be too strong for Hearts at Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu?

Group A: RFS vs Fiorentina

Can Fiorentina snatch top spot in Group A at the last?

A week ago, Luka Jović’s brace helped I Viola come from behind and beat İstanbul Başakşehir 2-1 at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

This leaves them level on ten points with the Turkish club, although Başakşehir boast the superior head-to-head record.

So, Vincenzo Italiano’s team must win this one and hope Heart of Midlothian can do them a favour in Türkiye.

If not, Fiorentina will be taking on a Europa League third-place finisher in the first knockout round in February.

RFS meanwhile made history earlier this year, becoming the first Virslīga side to compete in a UEFA group stage.

The Latvian champions began with a bang, drawing 1-1 in Florence, but have since added just one point to their tally.

Last Thursday’s 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle ensures Viktors Morozs’ team will finish bottom, but they’ll still be targeting a massive scalp.

Fiorentina should cruise to victory at Skonto stadions.

Group B: FCSB vs West Ham United

Job done for West Ham United, who’ve found the Europa Conference League all too easy.

Last Thursday, Manuel Lanzini’s penalty saw off Silkeborg at the London Stadium.

So, including the play-off, David Moyes’ men have won all seven matches in this competition, scoring 16 goals.

In Group B, the Hammers are guaranteed to occupy first place, so will go straight through to the round of 16 in March.

At the other end, this’ll be FCSB’s final European match of the season, as they’re assured of last place.

On matchday five, they did at least battle to a 2-2 draw with Anderlecht; Andrea Compagno and Joyskim Dawa on target.

But, having been demolished 5-0 by Silkeborg not once but twice before this, Nicolae Dică’s team will go no further.

West Ham have never won in Romania in fourth attempts, including a 2-0 defeat to Steaua București in 1999.

Will a much-changed Hammers side change that fact at Arena Națională?

Group B: Silkeborg vs Anderlecht

It’s winner takes all in Denmark, with both clubs desperate to reach the knockout stages.

Silkeborg, in their maiden UEFA group stage, have six points on the board, all coming against FCSB.

Kent Nielsen’s team, remarkably, beat the Romanian side 5-0 twice, before last Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium.

Nevertheless, just a point here will see Silkeborg through to the first knockout round.

Anderlecht meantime must win, after slipping up at home on matchday five.

Despite leading twice through Yari Verschaeren and then Jan Vertonghen, FCSB held them to a 2-2 draw in Brussels.

The Purple and Whites kick off one point below their hosts, thereby requiring a victory.

Can Silkeborg make home advantage count at JYSK Park?

Group C: Lech Poznań vs Villarreal

Villarreal had already wrapped up top spot in this group with two games to spare, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise that they slipped up last Thursday.

Samu Chukwueze and Arnaut Danjuma were on target at Estadi Ciutat de València, but Hapoel Be’er Sheva left with a well-earned draw.

Nevertheless, given that they’re seven points clear at the top, expect Quique Setién to rotate heavily here.

This could work in Lech Poznań’s favour, given that they need a victory to qualify.

The Polish champions have six points on the board, their sole victory coming at home to Austria Wien in September.

On matchday five, Mikael Ishak broke the deadlock, but the Railwaymen could only draw 1-1 in Vienna.

So, if Hapoel Be’er Sheva win simultaneously, John van den Brom’s team must win this one to reach the knockout phase.

Will it be a night of celebration at Stadion Poznań?

Group C: Hapoel Be’er Sheva vs Austria Wien

Can Hapoel Be’er Sheva reach the knockout stages?

Last Thursday, goals from Tomer Hemed and Sagiv Yehezkel saw the Camels hold run-away group winners Villarreal to a 2-2 draw at Estadi Ciutat de València.

Elyaniv Barda’s team are still yet to win in Group C but, having drawn four times, are still in the hunt to qualify.

If Hapoel Be’er Sheva win here, and Lech Poznań lose concurrently, they’ll reach the knockout phase.

If the Israeli side win and the Polish side draw, with their head-to-head is identical, it would come down to goal difference.

Lech’s is currently +2, while Hapoel’s is -1, so the home side may need an emphatic victory to advance.

Austria Wien could be welcome visitors, given that they’re out of the running to get through.

Die Veilchen did hold Lech to a 1-1 draw at home last Thursday, Can Keleş equalising, but this only takes their total to two points.

Will Hapoel Be’er Sheva claim three potentially priceless points at Turner Stadium?

Group D: Partizan Belgrade vs Slovácko

Can Partizan Belgrade secure their place in the knockout stages?

Last Thursday, the Serbian side were beaten 2-1 by Nice, conceding the winner mere moments after Ricardo Gomes had equalised.

This is the first time Gordan Petrić’s team have been beaten in Group D, so remain second with eight points to their name.

A victory for Partizan will ensure they reach the knockout stages, while a draw would also be enough, although this would mean they can only finish second.

As for Slovácko, they have been eliminated aftera 1-0 by Köln on matchday five.

As for Slovácko, they have been eliminated after a 1-0 defeat by Köln on matchday five.

The game was suspended just six minutes in due to extreme fog, with the German side prevailing on Friday afternoon.

This is the Czech Cup winners’ first-ever appearance in a UEFA group stage, but it’ll end with them finishing bottom.

So, everything points towards a home win at Partizan Stadium.

Group D: Köln vs Nice

With Partizan likely to win in Belgrade simultaneously, these two are facing a straight-shootout to qualify.

Nice currently top of the table, after their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Partizan at Allianz Riviera.

Nicolas Pépé and then Mario Lemina on target.

Thus, a point for Lucien Favre’s team would see them progress, while a win would guarantee top spot.

Defeat for les Aiglons in Germany would almost certainly see them crash out, and it’s a victory that Köln desperately need.

Die Geißböcke, eventually, beat Slovácko last week, with the game not concluded until Friday due to extreme fog.

The only goal was scored by Ondrej Duda, coming from the penalty spot over 19 hours after the game had began.

Steffen Baumgart’s team have taken maximum points from Slovácko but, aside from that, have only added one point, this coming in Nice on matchday one.

Thus, only a victory will do for Köln, so will the 55,000 inside RheinEnergieStadion roar their team onto victory?

Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Vaduz

Group E’s bottom two are merely playing for pride in Cyprus.

Vaduz did remarkably well back in August, becoming Liechtenstein’s first-ever representatives in a UEFA group stage, knocking out Konyaspor and Rapid Wien.

However, they’re yet to win in this group, drawing when Apollon Limassol visited and then with Dnipro-1 away.

So, the aim now for Alessandro Mangiarratti’s team is to win this one, thereby avoiding finishing bottom.

Apollon Limassol meanwhile are competing in their fifth group stage, all since 2013, but have still never reached the knockout phase.

David Català’s team have won just once, this coming on matchday four against AZ.

Last Thursday’s defeat to Dnipro-1 in Košice ensured the Cypriot champions cannot finish in the top two.

Even with little on the line, Apollon will be looking to make home advantage count at GSP Stadium.

Group E: AZ Alkmaar vs Dnipro-1

These two will both feature in the knockout stages, but top spot is on the line in Alkmaar.

AZ boast a two point advantage, thanks largely to the fact they won the reverse fixture; Dani de Wit the only scorer.

Overall, Arne Slot’s side have won four of five Group E matches, most recently beating Vaduz last Thursday.

Myron van Brederode bagging a late winner in Leichtenstien.

So, just a point for the Cheeseheads will wrap up top spot, thereby seeing them straight into the round of 16.

Dnipro-1, making their debut in a UEFA group stage, must win, or will have to settle for second.

The Ukrainian side defeated Apollon Limassol a week ago, with Oleksandr Pikhalyonok the match-winner in Košice.

The former outfit Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk reached the 2015 Europa League Final, with the phoenix club hoping to make a similar splash.

Will AZ get the draw they need at AFAS Stadion?

Group F: Djurgården vs Shamrock Rovers

Djurgårdens IF are making their debut in a UEFA group stage, but have been mightily impressive.

Since only drawing in Dublin on matchday one, the Swedish side have won all four matches, doing so in dramatic fashion.

Last time out, they came from 2-0 down to beat Molde in Norway; Victor Edvardsen, Joel Asoro and Haris Radetinac scoring in a remarkable turnaround.

This victory means Kim Bergstrand and Thomas Lagerlöf’s side have rubber stamped top spot; few would’ve predicted that!

Shamrock Rovers, competing at this level for the first time in 12 years, haven’t been quite as successful.

The Hoops finally scored a goal in this group a week ago, Rory Gaffney breaking the deadlock as they held Gent to a draw.

The recently crowned League of Ireland champions will finish bottom of this group, but are dreaming of their first-ever group phase win.

Even though the hosts have nothing to play for, a Djurgården win seems likely at Tele2 Arena.

Group F: Gent vs Molde

Second place is up for grabs in Group F, and it will be filled by one of these two.

Molde should’ve wrapped up qualification on matchday five, but still have work to do.

The new Norwegian champions were 2-0 up at home to Djurgården, Ola Brynhildsen and Markus André Kaasa scoring, but collapsed, eventually beaten 3-2.

Gent meanwhile could only draw 1-1 with the group’s whipping boys Shamrock Rovers; Hong Hyun-seok equalising in Dublin.

So, Molde sit second on seven points, while Gent are on five.

The Belgian club need a victory here, thereby leapfrogging their visitors, while Molde require just a draw.

Prepare for a dramatic night at Ghelamco Arena.

Group G: Slavia Prague vs Sivasspor

It’s all to play for in the Czech capital, with the hosts for this season’s final desperate to avoid an ignominious exit.

Slavia Prague have reached the quarter-finals of a UEFA competition in three of the last four seasons, but are on the brink of elimination.

Last Thursday, they kept their hopes alive, thanks to Ondřej Lingr’s late winner against Ballkani in Pristina.

However, having lost back-to-back games against Cluj beforehand, Jindřich Trpišovský’s team are third on just seven points.

So, if Cluj beat Ballkani simultaneously, Slavia Praha will be eliminated on head-to-head mini-league, even if they’re victorious here.

The fact the Slavists’ fate is out of their own hands isn’t ideal, but all they can do is win this one and hope.

Another problem for the Czech side is that Sivasspor still have something to play for.

The Turkish cup winners hammered Cluj a week ago, thanks to Mustapha Yatabaré’s brace at Eylül Stadium.

So, Rıza Çalımbay’s team are three points clear at the top, but they need a draw to make sure of first place.

The only way Sivasspor don’t come top is if Slavia win this one and Cluj fail to win conversely.

If you’re a fan of complex permutations, Group G is the group for you!

Will it be a night of big disappointment for Slavia Praha at Fortuna Arena?

Group G: CFR Cluj vs Ballkani

While the permutations are complex over in Prague, there are more certainties about this clash in Transylvania.

The key one is that CFR Cluj know that a victory for them will see them come second, thereby advancing to the first knockout round.

Dan Petrescu’s team enjoyed back-to-back victories over Slavia Praha, before a heavy 3-0 hammering in Sivas last Thursday.

The Romanian champions have won four of their last five European home games, and another win here would spark celebrations.

Ballkani meantime became the first Kosovar side to compete in a UEFA group stage by qualifying back in August.

Their big moment came on matchday three, when Ermal Krasniqi’s last-gasp winner saw them beat Sivasspor 4-3 in Türkiye.

However, having lost three of their last four, Ballkani are certainly out of contention, so have noting to play for.

Thus, Cluj will be confident of victory at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu.

Group H: Pyunik vs Basel

Basel were widely expected to cruise through this group, but still have work to do as they make the long 1,900 mile journey east to Yerevan.

RotBlau had maximum points after two games, including beat Pyunik 3-1 at home, but are winless in three outings subsequently.

Last Thursday, despite racing into a 2-0 lead in just 16 minutes, Andy Diouf and Andi Zeqiri scoring, minnows Žalgiris left St. Jakob-Park with a share of the spoils.

So, Alexander Frei’s side need a point on the road to get through.

That’s because, should Pyunik win here, they’d leapfrog their visitors, thereby qualifying at Basel’s expense.

The Armenian champions led in Bratislava a week ago, Eugeniu Cociuc converting a penalty, but lost 2-1, conceding a pair of late quick-fire goals.

However, at home, Yegishe Melikyan’s team have won both games in this group, both by the same 2-0 scoreline.

Given that, Pyunik will fancy their chances of a famous scalp at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium.

Group H: Žalgiris Vilnius vs ŠK Slovan Bratislava

Will ŠK Slovan Bratislava reach the knockout phase of a UEFA competition for the first time in the modern era?

Last Thursday, the Slovakian champions pulled off a remarkable comeback, beating Pyunik 2-1 at Tehelné pole.

Guram K’ashia equalising in the 84th minute before, mere seconds from kick off, Eric Ramírez fired home the winner.

This leaves Vladimír Weiss’ team top of the table, needing a draw to qualify and a victory to wrap up first place.

Žalgiris Vilnius meantime have already made history, becoming the first Lithuanian club to reach a UEFA group stage.

Despite their inexperience, the Green and Whites have been competitive, yielding five points from five games.

Vladimir Cheburin’s team beat Pyunik on matchday four, before coming from 2-0 down to draw with Basel last week.

Mathias Oyewusi’s brace securing a famous draw at St. Jakob-Park.

This point keeps Žalgiris’ hopes of qualification alive.

They must win here to get through, and this would be enough, regardless of the other result in Yerevan.

It is all to play for at LFF Stadium, so who will be celebrating come full time?


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".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *