Lyon vs Bayern Munich

Lyon vs Bayern Munich

Lyon will look to pull off a third consecutive giantkilling when they take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night (20:00 kick-off).

The French side have already claimed the scalps of both Juventus and Manchester City, with Rudi Garcia’s men outfoxing the Old Lady over two legs in the last-16 and netting two late goals against the Citizens in a 3-1 win to book their place in the penultimate round.

The Kids will be relishing the chance to butt heads with another European powerhouse in Bayern Munich, but after the Bavarians pulled off a resounding 8-2 win over Barcelona in the previous round, this will undoubtedly be their toughest challenge yet.

Under Hansi Flick, Bayern look unstoppable at the minute and he will be hoping to exorcise the ghosts of past Champions League semi-finals for the German club, with Bayern failing to progress in their last four appearances at this stage of the competition.

The other semi-final between PSG and RB Leipzig will be played out the night before on Tuesday, so both these sides will know who awaits them in the showpiece event later this month. But who will get there? In this season’s Champions League, it is anyone’s guess….

Lyon & Bayern Munich’s previous line-ups:

  • Lyon (vs Man City): Lopes; Denayer, Mercelo, Marcal; Dubois, Caqueret, Guimaraes, Aouar, Cornet; Ekambi, Depay.
  • Bayern Munich (vs Barcelona): Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Thiago, Goretzka, Muller, Gnabry, Perisic; Lewandowski.

Both these sides have thus far made their way through this intense mini-tournament relatively unscathed. Lyon have a full-strength squad to choose from, while Benjamin Pavard remains the only notable absentee for Bayern, setting the stage for an epic clash of heavyweights.

Players to watch:

  • Lyon: With Bayern Munich entering this contest off the back of an historic bombardment against Barca, Lyon will naturally have to keep things tight at the back and be wary of the threat their attacking opposition poses. But, they will also have to assert some authority in the middle of the park to break forward when they get the chance, and to ease the pressure on their backline. That task largely fell to Houssem Aouar against City, who worked tirelessly to procure the ball and keep things ticking over for the French club. His performance even led to eulogies from Kevin De Bruyne, who told RMC: “I don’t watch a lot of French football. But if I had to pick it one name, for me it would be Houssem Aouar. Today, he played a good game.” Garcia and Lyon fans will be hoping their academy jewel can produce similar heroics when he goes toe-to-toe with the likes of Leon Goretzka and Thiago.  
  • Bayern Munich: Players to watch? Take your pick from this sensational Bayern Munich squad. They have treated games against Spurs, Chelsea and Barcelona this season as playground duels, secondary school versus primary school. Robert Lewandowski has taken the No. 9 role to another level, Serge Gnabry has dispelled apprehensions about the departure of ‘Robbery’ and Thomas Muller has rediscovered his form of old. But, the standout man against Barca was arguably Alphonso Davies, the Canadian wing-back who made mincemeat of Nelson Semedo and provided Bayern with enough zest and flair on the flank to play out another 90-minute match. Lyon will look to keep things tight, and counter with waves of quick-thinking devastation, but in Davies, Flick has a player who can surge forward and track back without seeming to tire, offering excellent skill and technique in both thirds of the pitch.

Scoreline prediction: Lyon 0-2 Bayern Munich

Champions League 2019/20 recent form:

  • Lyon: WLWDLW
  • Bayern Munich: WWWWW

Bayern Munich vs Barcelona

Five things we think will happen in Bayern Munich vs Barcelona

Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona is undoubtedly the blockbuster tie of the Champions League quarter-finals.

The two five-times winners are the only former European champions left in the competition and will go head-to-head under the Friday night lights. The match will showcase two genuine European heavyweights, including the best player in the world and the best striker in the world, and should be an enthralling contest. We’ve predicted five things we think will happen in Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich.

1. The midfield battle will be a treat

You don’t see too many fantastic midfield battles these days. As pressing and counter-pressing has become more of a thing, it’s hard for great midfields to come together and dominate games. Bayern Munich are an exception, as their dominance over the Bundesliga allows their incredible players to shine. Playmakers like Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka dominate in all areas of the game.

Meanwhile Barcelona were the vanguard for great midfields, and although those standards are slipping Sergio Busquets is still a peerless force in the middle of the pitch (even if he needs more rest than he used to) and Frenkie de Jong is a blue chip, A-1, S-tier footballing prodigy. Obviously the third spot in Barcelona’s midfield could be equally fantastic, but even if they opt for Arturo Vidal over Riqui Puig there is still intense quality that comes with the Chilean and the narrative of him taking on his old side could be interesting.

Whichever way you slice it, this will be a midfield battle to savour. A fully rested Busquets going up against his old team-mate Thiago, who is coming off an all-world performance against Chelsea? The mouth waters!

2. Leo Messi will create chances

Lionel Messi, the 19th most ‘valuable’ player on Football Index

One of the stranger narratives emerging about Leo Messi vs. Liverpool last season is that he had a bad game at Anfield as the Blaugrana crashed out from Europe. And sure, he didn’t have his best night but he was directly involved in every chance Barca had that night with five shots and three chances created.

Those three chances were all golden, as well, with the Argentine putting Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suárez and Jordi Alba into 1v1 situations with Alisson. His team-mates all fluffed their lines, and Liverpool made history.

Now Barcelona face down a Bayern Munich juggernaut, and they may be up against it, but Messi will certainly still manage to create chances. He always does. Especially if Bayern aren’t able to call on Alphonso Davies due to injury. The Argentine will always get his passes off, he’ll always wreak havoc, and it’ll be up to his team-mates to deliver the finishing touches.

3. Bayern will target the full-backs

The amusing thing about Barcelona’s defence is that most of it is actually pretty great. Marc-André Ter Stegen is one of the world’s best goalkeepers, Gerard Piqué and Clement Lenglet among the best centre-backs, and Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong are masterful defensive midfielders, also amongst the world’s finest.

So why do Barcelona concede so many chances? Well, putting it charitably, their full-backs are less than stellar. Putting it more accurately, they’re bang average but playing in an offensive and expansive system that exposes both them and the defence as a whole.

Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba are very promising going forward, and Semedo is a terrific 1v1 defender and decent on the cover, but neither know how to defend space. Alba is a problem because he can get played around by simple one-twos, and Semedo’s tendency to get sucked in and leave his man unmarked at the far-post is becoming legendary.

Bayern Munich will be all too aware that if they attack Barcelona in the space behind the full-backs, they will get plenty of joy. Quique Setién’s diamond formation (which he is likely to use against Bayern) exacerbates this issue as it asks both full-backs to constantly play very high up the field. The likes of Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies are going to have a field day running into those spaces.

4. Lewandowski will make history, Suárez will become history

Lewandowski's stats profile on Football Index

Lewandowski’s stats profile on Football Index.

With just one goal against Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski will become just the fifth player to score 50 Champions League goals for a single club, and the very first to do it for a team besides Barça or Real Madrid. He will also become only the third player ever to score in eight straight Champions League games. These would be phenomenal achievements, and in fact they will be phenomenal achievements because there is simply no way that Barcelona will be able to keep this man out for 90 (or 120) minutes.

“Robert Lewandowski is a player that has improved with age and although on the wrong side of 30, he doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. With a staggering 56 goals already this season and an incredible record in the Champions league, £2.72 could be a snip for him on Football Index. He takes penalties and often free kicks and scores goals for fun. He is however at the highest price he has been at in some time and it’s always worth treading carefully when buying players with specific games in mind as he could easily drop off if Barca were to get the win.

However win or lose, he is a solid hold for at least another season and his dividend returns should outweigh any doubt in his price. There are a few other players from Bayern that could be valuable holds, including Thiago, who is great for performance dividends and a likely transfer target for Liverpool, which could see his price rise.” – tipster Craig Rennie, of Football Index Elite

And while Lewandowski is setting records, the striker at the other end, the one striker who can claim to be definitively better than Lewandowski over the last decade, is going to cement his inexorable decline. Luis Suárez has been a legendary goalscorer for Barcelona, but age defeats everyone. Especially those who rely on their athleticism as the Uruguayan does.

Suárez has not scored a Champions League goal outside of the Camp Nou since September 2015. Literally half a decade ago. Since then he has played 1,896 minutes without scoring, taking 67 shots in that time. His profligacy will continue in Portugal, only highlighting his athletic inadequacy and how much of a detriment he is to Barcelona’s play as a whole.

5. Bayern Munich will win

When you look at all the above, there’s only one logical conclusion for Friday night’s clash: Bayern Munich will win. The Bavarians are just too strong and would have given a firing and in-form Barcelona a game, let alone the misfiring outfit that the Blaugrana are now.

Moreover, Bayern have a great record against Barcelona throughout history. In the eight matches the pair have played, Barcelona have won just two (at the Camp Nou in 2009 and 2015), drawing once and losing five times against the Bavarians. That bodes ill for their chances.

Finally, Bayern are in absolutely incredible form. The Bavarians have won the last 18 competitive games in a row. They’ve won 22 out of 23 competitive games this year. They’ve already picked up the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal and will be looking to add the Champions League to secure their second-ever treble. Now whether they’ll go all the way is still up for debate, but they will beat Barcelona.

RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

RB Leipzig are competing in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history but face a tough task in 2016 finalists Atletico Madrid in Lisbon on Thursday night (20:00 kick-off).

Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig have already navigated a tough Group G, which included the likes of Lyon and Benfica, as well as annihilating Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on aggregate in the last-16, but this encounter presents their toughest challenge thus far.

Atleti are notoriously difficult to break down, so the Saxony club will need to be firing on all cylinders when they take to the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Their hopes of breaching the Madrid goalmouth have been dented, however, after star striker Timo Werner opted to join Chelsea before the end of the protracted season.

Diego Simeone’s men will be hoping to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2016/17 and have already eliminated reigning champions Liverpool, but can Los Colchoneros pull off another huge win and set up a meeting against one of Atalanta or PSG in the penultimate round?

Previous XIs & pre-match team news:

  • RB Leipzig (vs Augsburg): Mvogo; Konate, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Mukiele, Adams, Haidara, Tasende; Forsberg, Olmo; Werner*.
  • Atletico Madrid (vs Real Sociedad): Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Koke, Herrera, Partey, Vitolo; Costa, Morata.

It was confirmed by Atletico Madrid on Monday that both Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko have tested positive for coronavirus and will now undergo a period of self-isolation at home, meaning they have not travelled with the squad for Thursday’s meeting.

With Timo Werner now in west London after completing his move to Chelsea, RB Leipzig will need to tweak things around up front, which could mean a two-man partnership of Yussuf Poulsen and Patrik Schick. In other news, last-16 hero Marcel Sabitzer is a major doubt for this clash.

Players to watch:

RB Leipzig: Werner is now out of the equation of course, and Marcel Sabitzer, who netted twice in the previous round, is a potential absentee. So Nagelsmann will need to look elsewhere for a trusty source of goals, especially as the Bundesliga club are coming up against one of the most formidable defences in Europe. One player who could prove the difference-maker in this one-legged contest is Emil Forsberg, who scored the final goal in Leipzig’s win over Spurs. The Swede is currently enjoying his most prolific campaign, with 10 goals in all competitions, and has scored four of Leipzig’s last eight Champions League goals. Each of those came in the opening or closing 10 minutes of the match, too.

Atletico Madrid: RB Leipzig have never been involved in a goalless Champions League draw, so expect some fireworks on Thursday night. Granted, the German club have only contested in 14 matches in Europe’s flagship tournament, but they are typically a side accustomed to feasts of goalscoring activity. With this being a straight knockout match, Simeone will know his side need goals themselves, and in Alvaro Morata, he has a striker who likes to turn up in these latter stages. Eight of Morata’s 15 Champions League goals have come in the knockout stages (53 per cent), which is more than any other Spaniard since 2013/14. So don’t be surprised to see the former Chelsea marksman turning up and doing the business in Portugal.

Scoreline prediction: RB Leipzig 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Champions League 2019/20 recent form:

  • RB Leipzig: WWDDW
  • Atletico Madrid: WWWLL
Shakhtar Donetsk vs FC Basel

Shakhtar Donetsk vs FC Basel: Predictions

Published: 11:00, 11 August 2020

Shakhtar Donetsk’s pursuit of a second Europa League title will be tested when they face FC Basel in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday evening (20:00 kick-off).

The reigning Ukrainian champions lifted their first major continental prize in 2009 when they edged out a much-fancied Werder Bremen 2-1 in Istanbul.

FC Basel, meanwhile, have never tasted glory outside Swiss domestic football though in these unique circumstances must fancy their chances of correcting that statistic.

Shakhtar Donetsk & Basel’s previous line-ups:

  • Shakhtar Donetsk (vs VfL Wolfsburg): Pyatov; Dodô, Khocholava*, Kryvtsov, Matvienko; Stepanenko, Marcos Antônio; Marlos, Alan Patrick, Taison; Júnior Moraes.
  • FC Basel (vs Eintracht Frankfurt): Nikolic; Widmer, Cömert*, Alderete, Petretta; Frei, Xhaka; Stocker, Campo, Pululu; Arthur Cabral.

Shakhtar centre-back Davit Khocholava is suspended after being sent off in their impressive win over Wolfsburg. FC Basel also have a player serving a match ban; Eray Cömert is joined on the sidelines by injured trio of Jonas Omlin, Eric Ramires and Luca Zuffi.

Players to watch:

  • Shakhtar Donetsk: Since dropping into the Europa League there’s not been a drop off in form regarding Shakhtar, who still heavily rely on their veteran Brazilian-born Ukrainian striker Júnior Moraes. The 33-year-old currently has three goals to his name and will again be Donetsk’s biggest attacking threat more so after bagging a brace against Wolfsburg last time out.
  • FC Basel: FC Basel are one win away from equalling their best Europa League performance, when they reached the 2012/13 semi-finals, a survivor from that run — which ended at the hands of Chelsea — is Fabian Frei and the defensive midfielder has been in prolific form lately. Frei, a club legend that has amassed over 350 appearances for the Swiss giants, is looking to score in a fourth consecutive Europa League game.

Scoreline prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 3-2 FC Basel

Atalanta vs PSG

Atalanta vs PSG: Predictions

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to end a 25-year wait to reach the Champions League semi-finals when they face a spirited Atalanta side in Lisbon on Wednesday night (20:00 kick-off).

The reigning French champions have flattered to deceive in European competition it recent years, finding themselves on the wrong end of stunning comebacks, which ultimately cost a few managers their respective jobs.

Current incumbent Thomas Tuchel looked to be on the chopping block after Manchester United eliminated them last season, but the powers that be resisted that urge, and by promoting a long-term vision their dreams could be realised this month.

But they must get past this season’s unlikely quarter-finalists. Not many fancied Italian upstarts Atalanta being two wins away from reaching the final, but here we are. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men — who bagged 98 goals across their 2019/20 Serie A campaign — are here on merit and PSG would be foolish to take them lightly.

Atalanta & PSG’s previous line-ups:

  • Atalanta (vs Inter Milan): Gollini; Tolói, Caldara, Djimsiti; Castagne, Freuler, De Roon, Gosens; Pasalic, Papu Gómez; Zapata.
  • PSG (vs Lyon): Navas; Kurzawa*, Silva, Kimpembe, Bakker; Marquinhos, Gueye, Verratti*; Di María*, Icardi, Neymar.

Gian Piero Gasperini has no fresh injury worries ahead of their quarter-final showdown. PSG, meanwhile, are stretched with Ángel Di María suspended while Marco Verratti and Layvin Kurzawa are injured. Kylian Mbappé is a doubt after sustaining an ankle injury last month with some reports suggesting he could make an unlikely comeback.

Players to watch:

  • Atalanta: This is uncharted territory for Atalanta who have now established themselves as a top-four club in Serie A, and following Juventus’ surprise elimination at the hands of Lyon, there’s a sense of salvaging Italian pride on Wednesday evening. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men will continue to relish their underdog status, knowing very well the pressure is on mega rich PSG, and if they can keep the ball moving through playmaker Alejandro Gómez there’s a strong chance of causing an upset. In his eight previous appearances this season Gómez has created no fewer than 13 chances, more than anyone wearing an Atalanta jersey, whilst averaging 37.55 successful passes per game.
  • PSG: It goes without saying Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for one reason and that is bringing the Champions League to France’s capital for the very first time. Since becoming part of the Parisian furniture he’s been nothing short of prolific, having bagged 70 goals across 82 outings, with his Champions League tally standing at 14 strikes in 17 appearances. However, this game will be Neymar’s quarter-final debut for PSG, and given question marks surrounding Mbappé’s involvement all eyes will be on world football’s most expensive player to produce a display worthy of his talents.

Scoreline prediction: Atalanta 1-2 PSG

Inter Milan vs Bayer Leverkusen

Inter Milan vs Bayer Leverkusen

Inter Milan face Bayer Leverkusen on Monday night in a battle between two of the competition’s favourites.

Antonio Conte’s men are contesting their first European quarter-final since 2011 but having finished just one point behind Juventus in the Serie A table and an attacking line-up which is the envy of many sides across the continent, the Nerazzurri will be high on confidence.

The same could be said of Bayer Leverkusen, who are playing in their first continental quarter-final since the 2008 Uefa Cup. They breezed past Rangers in the previous round with a 4-1 aggregate win and finished fifth in the Bundesliga, missing out on a top-four spot by just two points.

With the rest of this season’s Europa League and Champions League ties being played across one leg, we’re guaranteed a winner here and, with that, plenty of drama in Dusseldorf.

Previous XIs and pre-match team news:

  • Inter Milan (vs Getafe): Handanovic; Godín, Bastoni, De Vrij; D’Ambrosio, Gagliardini, Barella, Brozovic, Young; Lukaku, Martínez.
  • Bayer Leverkusen (vs Rangers): Hradecky; Lars Bender, Tapsoba, Bender, Sinkgraven; Aránguiz*, Palacios, Wirtz; Havertz, Volland, Diaby.

Antonio Conte, who is only missing Matías Vecino, may resist the temptation of changing his lineup from the win over Getafe though Christian Eriksen is pushing for a place in his starting XI. Charles Aránguiz is missing for Leverkusen as he serves a one-match suspension and Paulinho is also missing through injury.

Players to watch:

Inter Milan: Knockout football is all about fine margins and with that comes the need for a reliable goalscorer who can finish chances when the pressure is at its highest. No player has delivered more in that respect during 2019/20 than Romelu Lukaku, who has netted a huge 30 goals in 47 games across all competitions. Lukaku opened the scoring against Getafe as Inter won 2-0 in the round-of-16 last time out and he’ll have his sights firmly set on crushing Leverkusen, too.

Bayer Leverkusen: No Leverkusen player has drawn more attention this season than Kai Havertz and now, with reports linking him to Chelsea appearing around every corner, all eyes will be on the German wonderkid. Havertz helped himself to 12 goals and six assists in the Bundesliga as Leverkusen finished fifth and has replicated that form on the continental stage, scoring three and assisting twice in four Europa League appearances. At this point, Leverkusen are likely resigned to losing their prized asset, so, if Havertz can fire them to European glory and drive up his price in the process, it’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Scoreline prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Man Utd vs FC Copenhagen

Man Utd vs FC Copenhagen

Manchester United will be looking for a place in this season’s Europa League semi-finals when they face FC Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday evening.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men weren’t exactly at their scintillating best against Austrian outfit LASK last time out and will be wanting to put on a better show.

As for their Danish opponents, this is the furthest they’ve been in a major European club competition, and Ståle Solbakken — a former international teammate of Solskjaer — knows his side has nothing to lose with all the pressure on the Premier League giants.

Previous XIs and pre-match team news:

  • Man Utd (vs LASK): Romero; Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Fred, McTominay; Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo.
  • FC Copenhagen (vs Istanbul Basaksehir): Johnsson; Varela, Nelsson, Bjelland, Boilesen; Zeca, Mudrazija; Biel, Wind, Falk Jensen; Kaufmann.

Luke Shaw remains out for Man Utd due to a troublesome ankle injury. Solskjaer is expected to make a number of changes from his last lineup, though Sergio Romero should retain his spot in goal. Ståle Solbakken, meanwhile, is likely to keep the eleven who knocked out Istanbul Basaksehir, meaning a place for ex-Red Devil full-back Guillermo Varela.

Players to watch:

Man Utd: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has often rotated his squad in the Europa League, meaning those on the periphery getting a run-out. Someone who’s benefited from this approach is newly-acquired striker Odion Ighalo, and he’s expected to feature when FC Copenhagen face the 2017 champions. The 31-year-old Nigerian marksman has started in United’s last four outings registering two goals, including a neat effort at LASK in March, and creating a further one.

FC Copenhagen: Given the gap in quality between the sides it’s not outlandish to suggest that Man Utd will dominate the proceedings in this game. Solskjaer’s incredible attack should pose FC Copenhagen a lot of uncomfortable questions, so the onus is on Copenhagen’s defensive rearguard, and they couldn’t have asked for a more experienced goalkeeper to call upon. Karl-Johan Johnsson is one of three players to feature in all of their Europa League games this season, though he has kept only three clean sheets while shipping seven goals.

Scoreline prediction: Man Utd 2-0 FC Copenhagen

Western United v Western Sydney Wanderers

Western United vs Western Sydney Wanderers

With the Australian A-League coming to a close, Western United play host to Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday (10:30am).

There may only be a handful of games remaining in the regular season but it is still all to play for as eighth-placed Western United and ninth-placed Wanderers scramble it out for a place in the top six and the Finals Series.

As things stand five points separates both these side from Adelaide United, who occupy the last qualification position for the Finals Series. The Green and Black have three games in hand over Adelaide but will need to put points on the board when WSW come to town.

The visitors currently have a game in hand and could close the gap on Adelaide to within two points with a win heading into the final stretch, making Friday’s contest a proverbial six-pointer if ever there was one.

These two sides have already met each other twice this season with the Green and Black unbeaten in both of those contests (one win, one draw), but can Mark Rudan’s side inflict further woe and edge closer to Adelaide? Or will Jean-Paul de Marigny pull off a tactical masterclass and scoop three precious points?

Player to watch:

He may be 37 years old, but Alessandro Diamanti is still an elegant playmaker and can dictate proceedings when he fancies it. The mercurial midfielder forged a reputable name for himself in Europe while donning the colours of Fiorentina, West Ham and Atalanta among others, while also racking up 17 caps for Italy.

On his day he is a delight to watch, mesmeric on the ball and precise with his set-pieces. Thus far, the veteran playmaker has amassed five goals and seven assists in 21 A-League appearances this season, and will be hoping to finish the season on a high as the Green and Black chase a top-six finish.

Scoreline prediction: Western United 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers

A-League 2019/20 recent form:

  • Western United: LWWWL
  • Western Sydney Wanderers: LWDDD
Wolves v Olympiacos

Wolves vs Olympiacos

Wolverhampton Wanderers‘ hopes of European football for 2020/21 sees them host Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 on Thursday at 8:00pm.

Arsenal‘s FA Cup win at the weekend means Wolves failed to qualify for next season’s Europa League, but a shock Champions League spot could still be on the cards if they win this year’s Europa League.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men currently hold a slight advantage over Olympiacos going into their last-16 second leg on Thursday, thanks to an away goal in their 1-1 draw in Greece back in March.

A win for Wolves would see their long Europa League journey continue, having started in the qualifying rounds on July 25, 2019 – over a year ago. But standing in their way are an Olympiacos side who have already knocked out English opposition in the Europa League, beating Arsenal in the last-32 which included a 2-1 win at the Emirates.

Player to watch:

Players aren’t often used to playing knockout European football with transfer rumours surrounding them and their future in doubt, but that’ll be the case on Thursday for Raul Jimenez.

The Mexican forward has enjoyed another good season at Molineux, scoring 26 goals in 53 games across all competitions, including 17 in the Premier League.  Since joining initially on loan from Benfica at the start of the 2018/19 season, Jimenez has now scored 43 goals in 97 games for Wolves – already his highest tally at a single club.

And although Jimenez appears to have his heart in Wolves, as does his family, the Mexican is currently being linked with a move to the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

United appear to be the more likely destination as they look to build on their third-placed Premier League finish, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo the club’s current recognised strikers.

But, for now, Jimenez’s focus is on going all the way with Wolves.

“We have to think big,” he said.

“If we think like this – we want to be in the final and win it, we have to go with that mentality and effort – we can achieve it.

“If we go with our heads down, we aren’t going to achieve anything. We all know each other; we know we are a good team that works together. We have to think bigger.”

Scoreline prediction: Wolves 2-1 Olyampiacos

Europa League 2019/20 recent form:

  1. Wolves: DWWLD
  2. Olympiacos: LWD
Inter Milan vs Getafe online

Inter Milan vs Getafe

Inter Milan and Getafe will lock horns in a single-leg Europa League round-of-16 tie in Germany on Wednesday evening.

The two sides had yet to face off in the first leg before football came to a halt in March, and will now decide their fixture in a one-off match at Schalke’s stadium.

Antonio Conte’s side continue in the knockout stages as one of the tournament’s favourites, while Getafe will be quietly confident of pulling off another shock result, having eliminated last season’s Champions League semi-finalists, Ajax, in the previous round.

The winners of this encounter will face either Bayer Leverkusen or Rangers in the quarter-finals, but who will progress and make it to the last eight?

Players to watch:

  • Inter Milan: Inter Milan finished as runners-up in Serie A this season, just a point below Juventus, and will be relishing the chance to win continental silverware. With some very intimidating sides still in the Europa League, Conte will be relying upon his most prolific forwards to get the job done if the Nerazzurri are to make considerable noise in the latter stages of this competition. Romelu Lukaku is one such player. With 23 league goals this season and two in Europe, he is a man in the form of his life and will be looking to add to his tally this month while simultaneously firing Inter to European glory.
  • Getafe: Bordalas may not have a 20-goal-a-season striker to call upon, but he does boast a very competent finisher in Jaime Mata. The one-time Spain international bagged 11 goals in La Liga this season and has outscored any Inter Milan player in the Europa League this term with three goals to his name. Inter are notoriously difficult to break down under organised virtuoso Conte, so Mata will need to bring his A-game if Getafe want to remain in Germany.

Scoreline prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 Getafe

Europe 2019/20 recent form:

  • Inter Milan: WWLWL
  • Getafe: LWWWL