Europa League outright predictions: Mourinho to work his magic again
Ahead of the opening group games of the 2022-23 Europa League season on Thursday, we have taken an in-depth look at the runners and riders in the outright predictions and there could be more success coming the way of Jose Mourinho come May.
Love him or hate him, Portuguese tactician Mourinho has a stellar managerial CV and he further added to his list of honours last season when guiding Roma to glory in the inaugural Europa Conference League.
Solid start increasing hope
The Giallorossi will now be hoping to triumph in the Europa League this season and the club's impressive start to the Serie A campaign has only increased hopes of once again ending up with silverware.
Ahead of Sunday's clash at Udinese, Roma have won three and drawn one of their four league matches — that share of the spoils coming against Juventus — and they have looked good at both ends of the pitch.
Mourinho's men have scored six goals and conceded just once and the savvy additions made during the summer transfer window have provided competition for places throughout the squad.
Strikers Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti both arrived on free transfers and the former, who made the switch from Juventus, grabbed a brace in the victory over Monza recently. These two have added to a forward line that already boasted Tammy Abraham and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Former Serbia international Nemanja Matic has brought experience to the midfield and he knows Mourinho well, having played under the Portuguese when the pair were at Manchester United together.
Group progression should be comfortable
Roma have, on paper, been handed what looks to be an easy group, as they will take on Ludogorets Razgrad, Real Betis and HJK Helsinski, so there should be no fears here and top spot in the pool looks likely for the Giallorossi.
Of course, the knockout stages will bring about the influx of teams that finished third in the Champions League group stage, but Mourinho will not be worried about this and a long, successful run in the Europa League could be on the cards.
Union to continue fantastic rise
Union Berlin may only be in their fourth Bundesliga season, having earned promotion to the top flight for the first time in 2019, but they have improved with each season - finishing 11th, seventh and fifth.
Head coach Urs Fischer continues to do a fantastic job on a shoe-string budget and his summer transfer window was impressive, with 10 new players brought in for a little over £12million.
With Taiwo Awoniyi being sold to Nottingham Forest for a fee believed to be in the region of £17.5million, the fact Union made a profit over the recent window and continue to punch above their own weight is sensational.
The German outfit are only one point off the top of the Bundesliga and they managed to hold reigning champions Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw last time out, again highlighting how far they have come.
Having been paired with Braga, Malmo and Union Saint-Gilloise, Union Berlin should not have any issues in advancing to the knockout stages of the Europa League and they could surprise a few by going deep in the tournament.