Europa Conference League predictions: Hammers eye perfect group campaign
- Recommended bets:
- Back Istanbul Basasksehir to beat Hearts 3-0
- Back West Ham to beat FCSB and over 2.5 goals
- Back Nice to beat Cologne and both teams to score
The group stages of the Europa Conference League reach their conclusion on Thursday evening and there is plenty to be decided across the board.
Hearts have struggled in the competition but will look to regain their pride as they head east to take on Istanbul Basaksehir in Group A, while West Ham will be aiming to make history by becoming the first team in the competition to win all six group games.
Elsewhere, and it is all to play for in Group D, with Cologne and Nice knowing a victory for either at the RhineEnergieStadion will see them through.
Istanbul Basaksehir vs Hearts (Thursday, 3.30pm)
Istanbul Basaksehir sit top of Group A on 10 points, ahead of Fiorentina thanks to their superior aggregate record over the pair's two meetings (4-2).
They matched the 3-0 scoreline they recorded against the Viola in their other home match against RFS and will be keen to get the job done having lost 2-1 in Florence last Thursday.
Despite beating RFS home and away, Hearts have already been eliminated from this competition and a better gauge of their standing at this level was probably their 5-1 defeat away at Fiorentina on matchday four.
It is tough to see Hearts taking anything from their trip to Istanbul, although they did win at the weekend, beating Ross County 2-1.
Basaksehir beat Giresunspor 3-1 on Monday to maintain their hopes of taking the Turkish title and look a class above the Edinburgh outfit.
A home win looks an obvious outcome but, for more value, a third straight 3-0 group stage victory for the Grey Owls at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium is 11/2 with LiveScore Bet and appears a reasonable option.
FCSB vs West Ham (Thursday, 8.00pm)
West Ham are the only team to have collected five wins from five matches so far in the Europa Conference League and have been efficient in doing so, averaging just two goals a game.
They have only conceded four times in Group B and while Andrei Cordea opened the scoring for FCSB when these two teams met at the London Stadium, the Red and Blues' only other Group B goals came in their 2-2 draw away at Anderlecht.
That has contributed to the Romanian side's early elimination after picking up just two points so far in the competition, losing twice to Silkeborg and drawing both games against their Belgian groupmates.
West Ham's perfect 15 points from five outings means they can afford to rest some of their stars but even then they will be confident of emerging from Group B with a 100% record.
FCSB have shown some signs of promise in this competition, notably drawing home and away against Anderlecht, but they have lacked the lustre of old and are fresh from sacking manager Nicolae Dica after losing 2-1 at Universitatea Cluj on Monday.
With top spot already guaranteed for David Moyes' side and FCSB in apparent turmoil, an away win and over 2.5 goals at 23/20 with LiveScore Bet looks a good option.
Cologne vs Nice (Thursday, 8.00pm)
Group D is arguably the most competitive in the Europa Conference League, with Nice and Partizan Belgrade tied on eight points and Cologne one back on seven.
Slovacko have already been eliminated and may struggle to test Partizan in Belgrade placing extra emphasis on Nice's trip to Cologne.
The pair played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Allianz Riviera in September and a repeat of that scoreline would cost Cologne due to their inferior head-to-head record with Partizan.
Nice are unbeaten away from home in the Europa Conference League, drawing 1-1 in Belgrade before beating Slovacko 1-0 in Uherske Hradiste.
Meanwhile, Cologne beat Slovacko but lost to Partizan at the RheinEnergieStadion. That defeat to the Serbian side is their only loss in five at home in all competitions.
Nice's away record will undoubtedly give them extra confidence and is boosted by Sunday's 2-1 win at a much-improved Lorient side.
Cologne have a good home record but are missing a number of key players, with captain Jonas Hector among those currently sidelined.
With this in mind, an away win and both teams to score at 5/1 with LiveScore Bet is tempting, especially as Nice have kept just one clean sheet in all competitions since September.