Liverpool, Klopp to come unstuck at Dortmund in Europa League quarter-final


Holly Thackeray | April 6th, 2016

The Europa League continues to create clashes full of drama, as the quarter-final first legs get underway this midweek. Most prominent is Jurgen Klopp’s return to former club Borussia Dortmund with last English outfit standing Liverpool, but not just that meeting will thrill on Thursday.

For fans of Spanish football, Coral also preview a plum fixture between Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, as surprise package Villarreal also host Czech underdogs Sparta Prague. While, staying in Iberia, Braga battle Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk.

Borussia Dortmund v Liverpool

  • Europa League
  • Thursday, April 7th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • Westfalenstadion, Dortmund
  • Live on BT Sport Europe

Dortmund to deliver Klopp cup woe

In a match-up that would have been a wonderful finale, Liverpool travel to Dortmund for a duel with a fascinating subplot – as Reds coach Jurgen Klopp returns to the Westfalenstadion for the first time since he departed the German juggernauts last summer after seven successful seasons at the helm.

Tactician Thomas Tuchel took over Klopp’s throne and has the Bundesliga big-guns back to being a formidable unit. The wall of yellow and black that awaits travelling teams is intimidating enough, but Dortmund have been defeated just once at home in all competitions (22 games) this term, so are odds-on at 1/2 to take the spoils in 90 minutes.

At the very least, Tuchel’s team look tasty at 3/1 to draw, but have been held as hosts on only three occasions this season also, meaning Klopp’s inconsistent Reds are up against it.

Aubameyang eyeing another English scalp

The Merseysiders, meanwhile, are 24/5 to leave Germany victorious, but the way Dortmund dismantled Tottenham, who Liverpool could only concede to draw with at the weekend, in the last 16 must be cause for Klopp concern.

Liverpool have beaten the Borussians before, back in 2001, but that came own their own turf, and they will have to wait for their chance to match the Westfalenstadion with their Anfield atmosphere. In what should be a frenetic and high-pressing contest, Samba sensation Philippe Coutinho is seeking his fourth strike in as many games an is 7/2 to grab it anytime, while compatriot Roberto Firmino is 10/3 to show his class too.

Dortmund’s main dangerman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is the man the Reds rearguard will need to restrict. With seven strikes in eight Europa League games including openers against Spurs home and away, the Gabon goal-getter is 3/1 to fire first again. While, revived fellow forward Adrian Ramos is chasing his third in a row and is 5/1 for the final say against former boss Klopp.

Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla

  • Europa League
  • Thursday, April 7th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • San Mames Stadium, Bilbao
  • Live on BT Sport Showcase/BT Sport 2

Lions stalking shock of hosts Sevilla

Successive Europa League champions Sevilla face fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao next, as they bid to claim a third continental crown in a row.

Basque club Bilbao, by comparison, have lost just four San Mames scuffles – with lose occurring twice against Barcelona plus Real Madrid and in the derby versus Real Sociedad.

Llorente looking ahead

Meanwhile, in another tremendous side story, Sevilla strike Fernando Llorente returns with the chance to sink his former side Bilbao, whom he is yet to bag against.

“It will be strange… because I spent 17 wonderful years of my life in Bilbao,” said the sharpshooter, who is 2/1 to convert anytime. Fellow forward Kevin Gameiro could also prove profitable at 5/1 for the first, as the Frenchman continues to propel up the scoring charts.

As for Athletic, a mix of experienced marksmanship in Spain’s Aritz Aduriz (10/3 to notch last) and youthful abandon in Inaki Williams (19/10 anytime) looks fruitful.

Villarreal v Sparta Prague

  • Europa League
  • Thursday, April 7th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • El Madrigal, Villarreal
  • Live on BT Sport Extra 2

Fairytale to end for one outsider

On paper, hosts Villarreal are odds-on at 4/9 to win this first leg fray but, as both sides have proven this season, big names aren’t everything.

It could be a tight night at the El Madrigal, with a draw at 3/1 a result Sparta would be proud to take back to Prague. The Yellow Submarine are stretched, as they also chase a top four La Liga spot, so could be vulnerable to a side that has already seen off the likes of Lazio.

Still, the Czechs will find it tough at a ground where Villarreal have been victorious in five of their last seven and boast in-form duo Roberto Soldado and Denis Suarez.

Sparta will require all their efforts to emerge unscathed, and will need a little more magic from midfielder Martin Frydek or Lukas Julis to keep the dream alive.

Braga v Shakhtar Donetsk

  • Europa League
  • Thursday, April 7th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • Estadio Municipal de Braga, Braga
  • Live on BT Sport Extra 3

Shakhtar stars to shine

Braga (6/4 for a home win) are a solid Primeira Liga side but have had a relatively easy run to this stage of the competition, so could be over their heads and in for a shock at the hands of classy and dangerous Ukrainian club Shkahtar Donetsk.

Fresh from a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Benfica, confidence could also be shaken, as the Portuguese will also be aware they need to secure an advantage before the long return trek to Eastern Europe.

Serbian striker Nikola Stojiljkovic (2/1 to strike anytime) and Premier League-linked Portugal winger Rafa Silva (7/2) will be the hosts’ best chance of surprising Shakhtar (a snip to win away at 19/10). But the quality of South American assets such as Taison (12/1 for a brace or better after a hat-trick last time out) and fellow Brazilian Bernard (5/1 anytime shout) should secure Donetsk leave dominant.


Read more on our excellent Europa League page.

Coral’s top tip: Aubameyang to score first for Dortmund at 3/1.

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