There is not a single home team without a road goal in its pocket for the second leg of the UEFA Europa League’s quarterfinals on Wednesday.
[ MORE: First legs, rounded up ]
In some cases, that could provide some impetus for conservative play. Whether we see that or not is another story altogether.
All matches kickoff at 3:05 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Shakhtar Donetsk – Braga
Shakhtar leads 2-1
The Ukrainians, like Sevilla, are in the catbird seat with a pair of road goals, and simply need to avoid a total breakdown. Braga is a much better home team that road team, and has a heck of a hill to climb in Donetsk.
Sparta Prague – Villarreal
Villarreal leads 2-1
No upset would be bigger than Sparta snaring a semifinal berth, and a 1-0 win would do it. Cedric Bakambu has been fantastic for Villarreal in this tournament, and netting just once could go a long way towards advancement for El Submarino Amarillo.
Sevilla – Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla leads 2-1
Neither team is a defensive power in La Liga, so it’s likely Bilbao has to hope for a big match from Aritz Aduriz (above) in making up for conceding twice at home. Sevilla should advance here, moving within two rounds of repeating at UEL champs.
Liverpool – Borussia Dortmund
Even at 1-1
How capable are Jurgen Klopp‘s troops of shutting down the visitors at Anfield? The manager’s answer to that question will make a big difference as to what sort of tactics we’ll see on Thursday. Dortmund blew it by not taking advantage of the Westfalenstadion as a venue, and conceding to Liverpool. The Reds might just move onto the next round despite taking on the tournament favorites.