Europa Conference League Betting Tips

Europa Conference League matchday one previews, predictions and odds

The second edition of the UEFA Europa Conference League is about to begin.

In May, Roma became the integral winners of this competition, beating Feyenoord 1-0 in Tirana.

This season, all roads to lead to Prague which will host the final on 7 June.

The only previous UEFA club competition final to take place in the Czech capital is the 2013 UEFA Super Cup.

140 matches will be played before then, starting with these 16 matchday one clashes.

Group A: Fiorentina vs RFS

Fiorentina are back in European competition, so will they make a winning return?

I Viola lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961, reaching a further three European finals, but this is their first season back in UEFA competition since 2016/17.

Vincenzo Italiano’s team edged out Twente in the play-off round and should easily win this match.

RFS meanwhile have become the first Latvian side ever to qualify for a major European group stage.

The Virslīga champions beat Hibernians and Linfield to make it, the latter in dramatic circumstances.

They scored in the 89th and 95th minutes of the first leg, before an 121st minute own goal forced a penalty shootout in Belfast, with RFS sneaking through.

Viktors Morozs’s team have done remarkably well to get here, so a home win seems very likely at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Group A: Heart of Midlothian vs İstanbul Başakşehir

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Heart of Midlothian vs İstanbul Başakşehir

İstanbul Başakşehir to win 2-1 against Hearts- 9/1!

Read all about Heart of Midlothian vs İstanbul Başakşehir by clicking here.

Group B: West Ham United vs FCSB

Read all about West Ham United vs FCSB by clicking here.

Group B: Anderlecht vs Silkeborg

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Anderlecht vs Silkeborg

Anderlecht to win 2-0 against Silkeborg- 7/1!

Will Slikeborg’s first-ever match in a major UEFA group stage be an occasion to remember?

As a newly-promoted club, they finished third in last season’s Danish Superligaen, a position that guaranteed group phase football.

Kent Nielsen’s team were beaten by HJK in the Europa League play-offs, thereby dropping into this competition.

So, the Intertoto Cup aside, Silkeborg have still only won two of eight European ties, the most recent of which was 24 years ago.

In contrast, Anderlecht have lifted five major European honours, with this set to be their 423 continental match.

The Purple and Whites beat Paide Linnameeskond and BSC Young Boys in qualifiers, the latter on penalties, to reach their 21st group stage, but first since 2018.

Will Felice Mazzù's team be too strong at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium?

Group C: Villarreal vs Lech Poznań

Based on their recent European record, are Villarreal the pre-tournament favourites to win the Europa Conference League?

In 2021, el Submarino Amarillo lifted major silverware for the very first time, beating Manchester United in the Europa League Final, before reaching last season’s Champions League semi-finals.

Head Coach Unai Emery has featured in five of the last nine Europa League Finals, winning four, but now has his eyes set on this trophy.

One potential issue is that Villarreal are currently playing home games at Estadi Ciutat de València, while Estadio de la Cerámica undergoes renovations.

Even so, the Spanish side should be too strong in this clash.

Lech Poznań meantime began their European adventure over two months ago, dumped out of Champions League qualifying by Qarabağ.

However, the Ekstraklasa champions responded brilliantly, beating Dinamo Batumi, Knattspyrnufélagið Víkingur and Dudelange in three do-or-die qualifiers to get here.

So, this is the Railwaymen’s second group stage in three season, although they’ve only won one of their last nine at this stage.

Group C: Austria Wien vs Hapoel Be’er Sheva

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Austria Wien vs Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Austria Vienna to win 1-0 against Hapoel Be’er Sheva- 7/1!

With second spot in Group C very much up for grabs, three important points are on the line at Franz Horr Stadium.

Austria Wien are competing in a first UEFA group stage for five season, dropping into this tournament after losing to Fenerbahçe in the Europa League play-offs.

That means the Violets have only one one of their last 13 European matches, a ratio Manfred Schmid’s team will be desperate to improve.

Hapoel Be’er Sheva meantime beat Dinamo Minsk, Lugano and Universitatea Craiova in qualification, the latter via a penalty shootout

So, this is the Camel’s fourth UEFA group stage, having featured in the Europa League in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

Although, excluding qualifiers, they’ve only ever won one of ten matches played outside Israel this, bizarrely, a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan at San Siro seven years ago.

So, this one in Vienna is tough to call.

Group D: Nice vs Köln

Who will claim three points on opening night at Allianz Riviera?

OGC Nice have certainly been busy this summer, signing Kasper Schmeichel, Sofiane Diop, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, Nicolas Pépé and others.

However, so far, Lucien Favre’s side have won just once in Ligue 1 and sit 16th following Sunday’s defeat to Monaco.

In this competition, the Eagles needed extra time to overcome Maccabi Tel Aviv, having lost the first leg 1-0 in Israel.

Nevertheless, Nice are set to compete in a fourth group stage in seven season, looking to avoid a repeat of their last when they finished rock bottom.

FC Köln meantime also faced difficulties in last month’s play-off round.

Die Geißböcke lost 2-1 at home to Fehérvár, before goals from Timo Hübers, Ellyes Skhiri and Kingsley Schindler turned the tie around in Hungary.

The German giants featured in the Europa League group phase in 2017 but, before that, hadn’t competed on the continent since 1992.

Nevertheless, given that they’re unbeaten in the Bundesliga, Steffen Baumgart’s team might take some stopping in this tournament.

Group D: Slovácko vs Partizan Belgrade

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Slovácko vs Partizan Belgrade

Slovácko to draw 1-1 with Partizan- 9/1!

Partizan Belgrade are certainly familiar faces to European football fans, so will they start their latest group phase campaign with a win?

Earlier this season, the Black-Whites were dumped out of Europa League qualifying by AEK Larnaca, but bounced back by hammering Ħamrun Spartans in this competition.

So, this is Partizan’s 13th UEFA group stage, three of which have come in the last four seasons, falling in the round of 16 in this tournament back in March.

With Nice and Köln also in Group D, Gordan Petrić's team will feel it’s vitally important to leave the Czech Republic with a win.

Slovácko are very much the section’s rank-outsiders, given that this is their group phase debut.

Having won the Czech Cup for the first time ever in May, they entered in the Europa League third qualifying round, but were swatted aside by Fenerbahçe.

Despite this, Martin Svědík’s side then demolished AIK 4-0 in this competition, securing their first-ever win in Europe (excluding Intertoto Cup).

Nevertheless, it’s the visitors who head to Městský fotbalový stadion Miroslava Valenty as favourites.

Group E: Dnipro-1 vs AZ Alkmaar

Dnipro-1 are back in European competition, so can they spring a surprise?

Having finished third in last season’s curtailed Ukrainian Premier League, they entered in the Europa League play-offs, but were demolished 5-1 by AEK Larnaca.

That was the phoenix club’s first-ever match on the continent; they were only founded five years ago, replacing 2015 Europa League Finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk who went bust.

Due to the ongoing Russian invasion, this match will take place in Košice (Slovakia) but there will be big support for the nominal home side.

AZ Alkmaar though will be confident of leaving with three points.

The Cheeseheads scored 18 goals in their six qualifiers, hammering Tuzla City, Dundee United and then Gil Vicente .

So, this’ll be AZ’s 14th UEFA group stage, getting all the way to the last 16 of this competition just last season.

Given all of that, Pascal Jansen’s side are big favourites at Košická futbalová aréna.

Group E: Vaduz vs Apollon Limassol

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Vaduz vs Apollon Limassol

Apollon Limassol to win 2-1 against Vaduz- 9/1!

This will be an historic occasion, not just for FC Vaduz, but for football in Liechtenstein more broadly.

Liechtenstein is the only UEFA member not to have an official league, with their seven clubs all featuring in the Swiss pyramid.

The sole European place is handed to the Liechtenstein Cup winners, a competition Vaduz have won a world-record 48 times.

So, despite featuring on the continent almost every season, they’d never gone beyond the third qualifying round, until now.

During the summer, Alessandro Mangiarratti’s side beat Koper, Konyaspor and Rapid Wien, the latter two both massive shocks.

Each time, Vaduz drew the first leg 1-1 before winning on the road; last month’s 1-0 victory in Vienna an historic night.

So, despite sitting second bottom of the Swiss second-tier, big European nights are coming to Rheinpark Stadion.

Apollon Limassol meantime will be looking to spoil any potential party.

The Cypriot champions have actually lost their last four European ties, beaten by Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League and Olympiacos in the Europa League so far this season.

Nevertheless, Apollon Limassol have featured in four Europa League group stages in the last decade, so will be looking to make that experience count here.

Group F: Shamrock Rovers vs Djurgården

Shamrock Rovers are back in a UEFA group stage after 11 years away, so will it be a night to savour in Dublin?

The Hoops ousted Hibernians and Shkupi in qualifiers this season, meaning they’ve actually won nine of their last 11 European home games, only losing to Flora and A.C. Milan since 2018.

Here, the League of Ireland champions kick off at home to the section’s other outsiders, so it’s vitally important Stephen Bradley’s team start with a win.

Djurgårdens IF meanwhile, having overcome Rijeka, Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe and APOEL, are set to make their group stage debut.

Since reaching the inaugural European Cup quarter-finals in 1955/56, the Swedish club have only won nine of 30 major European ties, three of which have come in the last seven weeks.

So, this’ll be an equally huge occasion for the Blue Stripes, so will there be a winner at Tallaght Stadium?

Group F: Molde vs Gent

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Molde vs Gent

Molde to win 2-1 against Gent- 15/2!

Simultaneously, 815 miles north-east in Norway, Group F’s two big favourites go head-to-head.

Molde were very impressive during qualifying, scoring 14 goals as they easily saw off Elfsborg, Kisvárda and Wolfsberger AC.

So, this’ll be their fifth UEFA group stage, most recently reaching the Europa League round of 16 two seasons ago.

Gent meantime have now qualified for a group phase in four successive seasons, despite defeat to Omonia in the Europa League play-offs.

The Buffalos topped their group in this competition 12 months ago, falling to PAOK in the round of 16 and are, arguably, favourites to finish first in this section too.

There’s unlikely to be too much to separate these two at Røkkeløkka.

Group G: Sivasspor vs Slavia Prague

Slavia Prague have been outstanding in UEFA competition in recent seasons, so how far will they go this time?

The Czech side reached the Europa League quarter-finals in both 2019 and 2021, also falling in the last eight of this competition just last season.

Despite this, Jindřich Trpišovský's team had to win three qualifiers just to be here, hammering St Joseph’s 11-0, before ousting Panathinaikos and then Raków Częstochowa.

Now in the group phase, the Slavists are the favourites to top this section and have to be dark horses to make the final which, as it happens, will take place in their own stadium.

Sivasspor meantime are here having lifted the Turkish Cup for the very first time in May, beating Kayserispor after extra time.

The Braves’ only previous group stage came in the Europa League in 2020, when they beat Qarabağ twice, but lost all four other matches.

So, an away win seems likely at New Sivas 4 Eylül Stadium.

Group G: Ballkani vs CFR Cluj

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Ballkani vs CFR Cluj

Cluj to win 1-0 against Ballkani- 6/1!

Ballkani’s historic night is here.

Having beaten La Fiorita, KÍ and Shkupi in qualifiers, the Kosovar champions have become the first club from their country to reach a UEFA group stage.

This is a remarkable achievement given that this is Ballkani’s first-ever escapade into European football.

So, the home fans are ready to party in Pristina, but CFR Cluj do come into this one as big favourites.

The Romanian champions are here following qualifying wins over Inter Club d’Escaldes, Shakhtyor Soligorsk and then Pyunik.

The Railwaymen finished bottom of their group in this competition last season but, under returning manager Dan Petrescu, topped their Europa League section just two years earlier.

So, an away win should be on the cards at Fadil Vokrri Stadium.

Group H: Basel vs Pyunik

Will the glory years return to FC Basel?

On the continent, RotBlau have reached the Champions League knockout stages on three occasions and were Europa League quarter-finalists as recently as 2020.

However, having not won the Swiss Super League title since 2017, Basel have had to settle for this competition, reaching the round of 16 last March.

This year, under Alexander Frei, they’ve negotiated a trio of tricky qualifiers, ousting Crusaders, Brøndby and CSKA Sofia.

So, will Basel show their quality in this opener?

In stark contrast, Pyunik are making their debut in a UEFA group phase.

The Armenian champions had never gone beyond the third qualifying round before, but beat Cluj and Dudelange to get here.

They were subsequently beaten by Crvena zvezda and FC Sheriff in the Champions League and Europa League respectively, the latter admittedly on penalties, but this shows they still have a way to go.

All in all, Basel should be far too strong at St. Jakob-Park.

Group H: ŠK Slovan Bratislava vs Žalgiris Vilnius

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ŠK Slovan Bratislava vs Žalgiris Vilnius

Slovan Bratislava to win 2-0 against Žalgiris- 7/1!

Basel are big favourites to top this group, but second place is firmly up for grabs.

ŠK Slovan Bratislava are here having overcome Dinamo Batumi and then HŠK Zrinjski Mostar during the qualifiers.

So, this is the Slovakian champions’ third group stage in four seasons, yet to reach the knockout rounds.

Meanwhile, Žalgiris Vilnius have become the first-ever Lithuanian club to reach a UEFA group phase.

They enjoyed victories over Ballkani and Malmö, the later a big shock, to secure this historic achievement.

If Vladimir Cheburin’s side are to leave Tehelné pole with a result, they’ll need an even bigger performance.

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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