Think Russian when identifying this year’s Europa League winner
Russian teams have won two of the last six instalments of the Europa League and they could potentially have four leading contenders in the competition again this year.
Zenit and CSKA Moscow have both dominated their groups and are the only two teams to have won all of their five matches so far.
Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow are guaranteed to finish third in their Champions League group, which means they will be eliminated from the competition, but be included in the last-32 stage of the Europa League.
The fourth team would be Rubin Kazan as they are currently third in their Champions League group, but could still finish second in their group if results finish in their favour in the one remaining round of games.
Basically, anything other than a win at the Nou Camp against Barcelona would mean they finish third in Group D and would therefore drop into the Europa League.
Football betting odds put 2008 Europa League winners Zenit as the most likely of the Russian teams to win the competition as they are priced at 12/1.
Also in Zenit’s favour is they were recently crowned Russian league champions, taking the title by six points from CSKA Moscow.
CSKA have arguably been the most impressive team in the Europa League group stages as they have managed 17 goals in their opening five fixtures and conceded just two.
And with Tomas Necid and Seydou Doumbia in impressive form in attack, they will fancy their chances of scoring against anyone and could be a big price at 14/1 to win the Europa League.
Spartak are slightly more inconsistent, but showed signs of their talent in the Champions League and on a good day will be more than a match for the big guns of the Europa League.
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