UEFA Europa League

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Greece: Fans detained for violence ahead of Dynamo-AEK game

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) Police say 18 people believed to be supporters of Dynamo Kiev have been detained for questioning after a bar in central Athens was damaged ahead of a Europa League game between the Ukrainian team and local club AEK.

[ MORE: Batshuayi the talk of BVB ]

The incident occurred on Thursday, hours before the match at Athens’ Olympic Stadium.

Police are on alert after a Greek anarchist group urged Greek football fans to confront what it described as groups of neo-Nazis among the traveling fans.

“Delighted” Batshuayi is the talk of Dortmund (and London)

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Michy Batshuayi is the talk of Borussia Dortmund in a very good way, and the talk of many grumbling Chelsea supporters as well.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

The striker the club needed may have it been right under its nose, as Batshuayi has five goals in three matches on loan from Chelsea.

That total includes a pair scored in BVB’s 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, and has his name on seemingly everyone’s lips.

Let’s hear from the man first, from bvb.de/eng:

“I’m absolutely delighted about the goals. But Mario also deserves a lot of credit because he did brilliantly to set me up for both goals.”

Batshuayi also told ESPN that he’s not letting his mind wander from the task at hand despite the new love affair with BVB and cold times at Chelsea:

“I’m not thinking about that at all. For me, it’s important to perform well for Borussia Dortmund in every match anew. I’ll deal with the situation as it comes.”

Mario Gotze assisted Batshuayi’s equalizer and stoppage time match winner.

“Looking at the balance of play, we have to be satisfied. We’re obviously happy to take the win. In stoppage time I could see Michy Batshuayi unmarked in the penalty area and played it straight to him. And then he did brilliantly, turning like lightning and finishing.”

A few others are singing his praise, including the man himself:

Europa wrap: Arsenal, Atleti, Celtic on top

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There wasn’t a single nil-nil to be found as the Europa League returned Thursday with its Round of 32.

[ RECAP: Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal ]

Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal won, as did a number of big names, but several names — Zenit and Napoli among them — slid behind the 8-ball with first leg setbacks.

[ RECAP: BVB 3-2 Atalanta ]

Copenhagen 1-4 Atletico Madrid

The Danish hosts struck first, but the lead didn’t last for long as Atletico Madrid hung a quartet of away goals on Copenhagen.

Viktor Fischer put Copenhagen up after just 15 mintues, but it was level six minutes later through Saul Niguez. By the time all was said and done, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann, and substitute Vitolo had scored to complete the blowout.

Celtic 1-0 Zenit Saint-Petersburg

Callum McGregor was set-up by Chelsea loanee Charly Musonda as the Bhoys crucially held Zenit without a goal ahead of the return leg in Russia.

Napoli 1-2 RB Leipzig

The Serie A title contenders are having a rough time in Europe this season, now down a goal with two away goals conceded to RB Leipzig before next week’s second leg in Germany.

Adam Ounas put Napoli ahead early in the second half, but Timo Werner equalized after the hour mark and Bruma made it 2-1 with 16 minutes to play in Italy.

[ MORE: Wenger, Mkhi on Arsenal win ]

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 CSKA Moscow — Tuesday
Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta
Astana 1-3 Sporting Lisbon
Ludogorets Razgrad 0-3 AC Milan
Marseille 3-0 Sporting Braga
Nice 2-3 Lokomotiv Moscow
Real Sociedad 2-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Spartak Moscow 1-3 Athletic Bilbao
AEK Athens 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Steaua Bucharest 1-0 Lazio
Lyon 3-1 Villarreal
Partizan Belgrade 1-1 Viktoria Plzen

Arsenal’s Wenger played to his advantages in Swedish blowout

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You know that argument we make on behalf of preseason MLS teams when they face Liga MX sides in the CONCACAF Champions League?

[ RECAP: Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal ]

Imagine you’re a Swedish club and instead of Pachuca, it’s Arsenal on the other side.

Ostersunds staged its second match since Dec. 7, and was overwhelmed by the speed and press of Arsenal from moment one as the Gunners claimed a 3-0 first leg win in the Europa League’s Round of 32.

“Overall we played a serious game, so job done,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “They looked very nervous and we took advantage of it.”

Ostersunds’ only other competitive match of 2018 was a Swedish Cup game on Feb. 9.

Nacho Monreal and an Ostersunds goal had it 2-0 by halftime, and Mesut Ozil put the finishing touch on the scoreline in the second half.

Ostersunds’ 2017 Allsvenskan schedule wrapped up in November, leaving only the Europa League group stage fixtures and the aforementioned Cup game to keep them sharp for the Europa League Round of 32.

The club won’t play outside the UEL until after the Arsenal tie is over, and doesn’t begin the 2018 Allsvenskan schedule until April 1.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan forced the own goal with a hard cross, and says Arsenal was prepped to pressure the out-of-sync hosts.

“It was their first game after a while, because we are in the league and keep playing maybe we are more practiced,” Mkhitaryan said. “They are a good team, tried to play, but we scored two in the beginning.”

Mkhitaryan said, “Why not?” when asked if Arsenal could win the whole thing.

“We have to focus on every game regardless of this result to ensure more success. Even with the League Cup final, I think we have to play with the same team and win at home.”

VIDEO: Red-hot Batshuayi scores 2 more, leads BVB to comeback win

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Michy Batshuayi was a much-wanted transfer figure when Chelsea scooped him up from Marseille, so it’s little surprise to see him back bagging goals for fun.

[ RECAP: Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal ]

He’s having a lot of fun.

Batshuayi made his Europa League debut for Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, scoring the equalizer and stoppage time winner in a 3-2 win over Atalanta.

BVB went ahead after a half-hour through Andre Schurrle, but found itself down 2-1 at home after Josip Ilicic scored twice.

But Batshuayi scored from outside the box, assisted by Mario Gotze, in the 65th minute before teaming up with the World Cup winner a second time at the death (See goal below).

“Batman” now has five goals and an assist in three appearances for BVB since arriving on loan from Chelsea, Thursday’s performance being his second brace since his Groundhog Day debut against Koln.

To recap, last three games:

Batshuayi at BVB — five goals, three wins
Chelsea — four goals, one win

He scored 11 times for Chelsea this season after bagging the same figure over his first full season at Stamford Bridge in 2016-17.