Europa League Betting: German sides to catch the eye

Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz
Peter Bosz has already had a positive effect on Bayer Leverkusen

The Europa League's knockout phase is set to begin, and Kevin Hatchard has picked out four selections.

"Bayer are playing all-out attacking football, and five of Krasnodar's six UEL games so far have featured at least three goals."

Back Over 2.5 Goals in Krasnodar v Bayer Leverkusen at [1.86]

Bosz's Plan A to yield goals

Krasnodar v Bayer Leverkusen
Thursday February 14, 17:55
Live on BT Sport Extra

I have no idea whether Bayer Leverkusen truly will succeed in the long-term under Peter Bosz, but it'll be a hell of a lot of fun finding out. Since the former Borussia Dortmund boss took the reins at the Bay Arena, Die Werkself have had on average more shots on target, have covered more distance, and have won three of their four Bundesliga matches.

Bosz's do-or-die approach is getting the best out of players like Julian Brandt, who scored twice and produced two assists in Friday's chaotic 5-1 win at Mainz. Striker Kevin Volland looks razor sharp, and teenage prodigy Kai Havertz plays with such calmness and steel that I'm not entirely sure that he's not a football cyborg sent back from the future.

Bayer's last four games have all featured at least three goals, and I can't imagine Bosz will alter his set-up for this trip to Russia. Krasnodar saw five of their six group games contain at least three goals, and they only kept one clean sheet. Krasnodar have scored at least twice in ten of their last 12 competitive matches at the Stadion FK Krasnodar, and I'll go for Over 2.5 Goals here at [1.86].

Eagles capable of landing a blow or two

Shakhtar Donetsk v Eintracht Frankfurt
Thursday February 14, 20:00
Live on BT Sport Extra

Eintracht Frankfurt have been outstanding in the Europa League, becoming the first German side ever to win all six group games. The front three of Ante Rebic, Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic have scored 32 of the club's 40 Bundesliga goals between them, but have also posed a big threat in the UEL. The Eagles beat Lazio twice and Marseille twice, so they'll face Shakhtar with confidence.

Shakhtar's Champions League campaign was a huge amount of fun, but they fell just short of reaching the last 16. Five of their six group games featured at least three goals, as they scored eight goals and conceded 16.

I'm tempted to back Frankfurt Draw No Bet at [2.36], but they are struggling to pick up wins in the Bundesliga of late. Instead I'll go for Over 2.5 Goals at [1.96]. Shakhtar leaked goals consistently in the UCL, but they also have enough quality in attack to so some damage themselves.

Greek giants too short to take the win

Olympiakos v Dynamo Kiev
Thursday February 14, 17:55
Live on BT Sport Extra

Olympiakos caused one of the shocks of the Europa League so far by knocking out Milan on Matchday Six. They needed to win by a couple of clear goals to get the job done, and a dysfunctional Milan side were swept aside 3-1. However, we have had recent evidence that Olympiakos aren't back to their dominant best. A defeat at title rivals PAOK on Sunday increased the gap between the clubs at the top to nine points, and that followed a careless 3-3 draw at Lamia in the Greek Cup.

Olympiakos' home form is excellent, with six wins in a row put together. However, scratch beneath the surface, and you see that they struggle to beat quality sides in Piraeus. They lost at home to PAOK, drew 0-0 with Betis, and were held to a 1-1 draw by Panathinaikos.

Dynamo Kiev only lost once in the group stage, and they had already qualified by the time they were edged out 1-0 at home by Jablonec. The Ukrainians won at Astana and Rennes, and they are hard victories to come by. This is an experienced and technically-gifted unit.

I think this is a tighter game than the market suggests, so I'll lay Olympiakos at evens.

Rennes can make the most of Betis' away day blues

Rennes v Real Betis
Thursday February 14, 17:55
Live on BT Sport Extra

Rennes go into the last 32 in excellent form, and they have hauled themselves into the top eight in Ligue 1, with a higher finish within striking distance. Their home form has been particularly impressive - they have won seven of their last nine matches at Roazhon Park inside ninety minutes, and they haven't lost at home since the first week of December.

Betis were impressive in the group stage, and although they have pulled off incredible results on the road like the win at Barcelona, their general away form is poor. Quique Setien's side have lost three of their last five games outside Andalusia, and they have won one of their last eight away games.

I'll back Rennes here Draw No Bet at [1.88].

Kevin Hatchard,

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