Europa League Round of 32, first legs. Betting tips and match previews. The most interesting matches are Borussia Dortmund - Porto, Fiorentina - Tottenham and Villareal -
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FIORENTINA - TOTTENHAM
- Fiorentina are without only the injured Milan Badelj for the welcome of Tottenham on Thursday.
- Mathias Fernandez is available having been forced to miss the win over Inter through suspension.
- Mauro Zarate will sit out Fiorentina's upcoming league match following his dismissal against Inter, but is unlikely to start.
- Tottenham are once more without duo Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N'Jie for the trip to Fiorentina due to injury, while Hugo Lloris joins them on the sidelines.
- Mauricio Pochettino could rest some key players here, but is expected to name a strong starting XI.
- Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Tom Carroll, Ryan Mason, Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies are among those set to come in.
- A 2-1 win over Inter at the weekend means Fiorentina are unbeaten in their last five competitive outings, winning three. Those three wins each came at home, with the Viola confident of making home advantage count when they welcome Spurs in midweek.
- Tottenham have won their last six competitive fixtures, with the north London side now just two points off top spot in England's top tier. Mauricio Pochettino has often stated he will take the Europa League seriously and will hope to make it seven successive wins on Thursday.
- However, the Premier League side could be forced to settle for a point in Italy.
OVER 1.5 (1.35, Matchbook)
TOTTENHAM DOUBLE CHANCE (1.58, Matchbook)
POSSIBLE SCORE: 1-1
BORUSSIA DORTMUND - PORTO
- The likes of Sokratis and Julian Weigl were left on the bench at the weekend and may well return to the starting XI at the expense of Subotic and Ginter respectively.
- Elsewhere Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be back in contention following a minor injury problem, with Castro dropping out and Tuchel reverting to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
- Roman Weidenfeller played every game in the group stages so first choice Roman Burki may drop to the bench once again in Europe.
- Right-back Maxi Pereira and midfielder Danilo are both suspended having picked up three yellow cards in the Champions League group stages.
- Porto have real problems at the back, with Jose Angel likely to come in on the left and Miguel Layun switching to the right.
- With Marcano injured and Maicon out on loan Jose Peseiro was forced to field teenager Chidozie Awaziem at the weekend but the Nigerian is not registered for the Europa League, so 19-year old Verdasca is in line to make his debut at the heart of the defence.
- In what is arguably the most eye-catching tie of the round of 32 in the Europa League, Dortmund will be looking to take a strong advantage to Portugal ahead of the second leg.
- Thomas Tuchel's side should be close to full strength while Jose Peseiro has real problems at the back and will likely aim to at least register an away goal to give themselves a chance of progressing.
- The visitors have real quality in attack but if they fail to protect a makeshift back four the hosts own weapons in the final third could have a field day and the Germans should be considered strong favourites as a result.
VILLAREAL - NAPOLI
- Mariano Barbosa has been trusted between the sticks in the Europa League this season and should return to the starting XI for the reception of Napoli on Thursday.
- Villarreal manager Marcelino García Toral could start Mateo Musacchio in the Europa League with Eric Bailly injured.
- Roberto Soldado, Cedric Bakambu, Denis Suarez and Johnathan dos Santos are all expected to play.
- Maurizio Sarri has almost an entire squad to pick from for their first-leg against Villarreal apart from Alberto Grassi, who is out injured.
- The Napoli boss is likely to make changes for this fixtures with one eye on their league clash with AC Milan at the weekend. The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne among those that could be rested. Jorginho hasn't travelled with the squad because of a virus.
- On-loan Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah could get some minutes, as could former Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches.
- Villarreal have only lost one home game all season in league and European competition.
- Napoli's run of eight straight wins in the league came to an end when they were beaten 1-0 by Juventus at the weekend.
- The Italian's are favourites on paper, but much will depend on the strength of the two starting line-ups, with Napoli manager Sarri so far opting to field weakend teams in Uefa's second competition.
- Napoli won each of the last two meetings between these sides 2-0, but they have not faced off against each other since 2011.
VILLAREAL DOUBLE CHANCE + OVER 1.5 (1.80, Betfair)
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE (1.78, Betfair)
POSSIBLE SCORE: 1-1
MIDTJYLLAND - MANCHESTER UNITED
- The home side will be without Jakob Poulsen through suspension and Petter Andersson because of injury for the reception of Manchester United.
- Midtjylland lost their captain Erik Sviatchenko to Celtic in the January transfer window, which is a big blow at the heart of their defence. Patrick Banggaard Jensen and Nikolay Bodurov are vying to replace him in defence against United, as a result.
- Louis van Gaal is short of options in defence after Matteo Darmian was the latest full-back to sustain a long-term injury. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is also ill and has not travelled.
- The Dutchman looks set to play five at the back with Paddy McNair coming in to partner Chris Smalling and Daley Blind. Donald Love and Jesse Lingard should start on the flanks of the back five.
- Wayne Rooney is among those that has not travelled with the squad, with the United captain reportedly out for 2 months with a knee injury. As a result, this could provide an opportunity for Will Keane to start. Memphis, Ander Herrera and Andreas Pereira will all be looking for minutes too.
- Included in the touring squad features Joe Riley (19) and Regan Poole (18) who will act as defensive cover.
- Manchester United will kick off Thursday night football with a trip Denmark to face FC Midtjylland. A top four finish in the Premier League seems beyond United now, which means they will probably have to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League next season.
- FC Midtjylland haven't played a competitive match since December 10 and are likely to be extremly rusty. They have also won just one of their last 10 competitive matches and should be the perfect opponents for United to open up a comfortable first-leg lead, but this United outfit seem determined to do everything the hard way.
- On the other hand, the Norweigean outfit already have experience of knocking out English opposition, having eliminated Southampton at the start of the season.
AWAY WIN (1.65, PaddyPower)
MANCHESTER UNITED DOUBLE CHANCE + UNDER 3.5 (1.75, PaddyPower)
POSSIBLE SCORE: 0-2
AUGSBURG - LIVERPOOL
LIVERPOOL DOUBLE CHANCE
SHAKHTAR DONETSK - SCHALKE 04
SEVILLA - MOLDE
OVER 1.5 HOME TEAM
GALATASARAY - LAZIO
GALATASARAY DOUBLE CHANCE
SPORTING LISBOA - BAYER LEVERKUSEN
SPORTING LISBOA DOUBLE CHANCE
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Bet of the day: 18 February 2016 (Europa League)
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