Europa League preview – Juventus won’t need luck against Shamrock
Italian giants Juventus begin yet another European campaign in unfamiliar surroundings tonight, as they travel to Dublin to take on a Shamrock Rovers side who have eyes on an Irish upset.
At 8/1 to win the match, Shamrock will need all the luck they can get against the two-time European Cup champions, but after beating Isreali side Bnei Yehuda 2-1 in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, manager Michael O’Neill believs his side have a chance.
Juve boss Luigi Del Neri is not taking the tie for granted and has included club legend Alessandro Del Piero (10/3 to score first), David Trezeguet (10/3) and Italy’s Simone Pepe (6/1) , who played at this summer’s World Cup, in his 21-man squad.
Indeed, with Juventus 1/5 to win the game, more value would be found betting on the seventh-placed Serie A side to beat the runners up from League of Ireland 2-0 – a 5/1 shot.
Nordsjaelland v Sporting Lisbon
Elsewhere in Europe Sporting Lisbon travel to Denmark to take on Nordsjaelland, who finished seventh in the Danish Superliga last year.
Sporting, who came fourth in the Portuguese Liga, should be too much for the Danes, and are decent value at 4/7 to win the game, which kicks off at 7.30pm.
Having scored four goals in beating Manchester City and drawing with Tottenham during pre-season games, a 2-0 Sporting victory is a tempting price at 5/1.
Molde v Stuttgart
Stuttgart are another big name to be entering the Europa League at the third qualifying round stage. Last year Christian Gross’s side held Barcelona at home in the Champions League, before succumbing in the Nou Camp but should fare better at the Aker Stadion, Molde’s ground.
The Norweigan side produced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and sold Manchester United another striker, Mame Biram Diouf, in January, but they lack that kind of star quality in the current squad.
Stuttgart midfielder Sami Khedira is expected to complete his move to Real Madrid soon, but the Germans should still have enough to get past the Norweigian league runners-up – a 2-1 victory is 7/1.
Even before these matches are completed, Juventus, Sporting and Stuttgart would all be great bets to win the Europa League title.