Preview & Betting On The 1st Leg Of The Europa Cup Quarter Finals

March 31st, 2010

Previously known as the UEFA Cup, the 2009/10 UEFA Europa Cup is the 38th in the series and this week marks the first leg of the quarter finals.

Beginning with around 192 club sides from around Europe, the Europa Cup is down to the final eight, and the first leg takes place on Thursday the 3rd of April at 9.05pm (CET) – 6.05am (AEDST) on Friday.

With such an exhilarating tournament as always, Sportsbet have some fantastic markets on offer to punters, for those being loyal to their side and those just looking for a cheeky wager.

The four great matches will no doubt disappoint; featuring top quality sides from Europe, and  the opening clash will take place between the competitions most inexperienced sides when Fulham FC host German side VfL Wolfsburg at Craven Cottage.

Wolfsburg managed a 3-2 aggregate win in the round of 16 over Rubin Kazan to see them through to the quarters, whereas Fulham had an incredibly tough battle on their hands against three-time UEFA Cup winners Juventus, managing an unexpected 4-1 beating of the Italians at the Cottage.

With such an exhilarating tournament as always, Sportsbet have some fantastic markets on offer to punters.

Neither of the sides have made it this far in a UEFA club competition; although the London side can claim 14 unbeaten UEFA club home games, winning their last three. Wolfsburg have drawn their away matches – winning on aggregate.

With the home ground advantage obviously affecting both sides in different ways, Fulham are going into the quarter finals slightly ahead in the odds at $2.25, while VfL Wolfsburg are at $3.15.

The London side are favourites to score first at $1.80, while the German’s are at $2.20.

Over in Germany, Hamburg is at home to Standard Liège at the HSH Nordbank Arena in their first-leg clash.

Hamburg had a thrilling battle against Anderlecht in the round of 16, coming away 6-5 winners on aggregate, while Standard had a more comfortable win against Panathinaikos 4-1 over both legs.

Hamburg will be hoping they can inch their way to the final to be held at their home ground, and are unbeaten in their last six European matches at home, however Standard will be out to stop the German’s home record after winning 3-1 away from home against Panathinaikos.

However the odds are with Hamburg as they go into the home match clear favourites at $1.53, with Standard at $6.

The third quarter final is an all-Spanish affair as Valencia takes on Atlético Madrid at the Mestalla, with both sides qualifying from the round of 16 on the away goal rule.

Valencia were up against Werder Bremen, which resulted in the home leg 1-1, and away 4-4, while Atlético faced Sporting CP with a 0-0 draw at home, and 2-2 result away.

Having never met before in the UEFA competition, the sides have played 140 times in the Spanish domestic league, with Valencia coming away triumphant 53 times, compared to Atlético’s 51.

With this slight historical edge, and the home ground advantage, Valencia is the favourite at $1.86, while Atlético are at $4.40.

Rounding out the first leg of the quarters will be considered the closest match of them all when Benfica take on Liverpool at the Stadium of Light.

Both sides had relatively comfortable wins in the round of 16, as Benfica beat Marseille 3-2 and Liverpool beat Lille 3-1, cementing their quarter final spots.

With both teams highly experienced in European competitions, and despite the English side being one of the most successful clubs in the competition having won it three times, Benfica are going into the match slightly ahead in the odds at $2.40.

Liverpool are at $2.90, however with their ability to play top quality football under pressure, may well come out on top.

So to place a wager on the ever exciting UEFA Europa Cup, head to Ladbrokes.com.au to check out the array of soccer betting markets on offer, ranging from the first team to score, half time result, pick the score and many, many more!