Europa League predictions: Goals expected for Fenerbahce and Partizan
There are six Europa League second-leg qualifiers taking place on Thursday evening and Northern Irish champions Linfield have their work cut out as they travel to Zurich trailing 2-0 following last week’s defeat at Windsor Park.
It is the third qualifying round of the competition and things are looking rosy for Malmo and Fenerbahce as they take 3-0 first-leg leads to Dudelange and Slovacko respectively.
However, there are still a couple of ties hanging in the balance, particularly Slovan Bratislava versus Olympiakos who are locked level at 1-1, while Partizan Belgrade are only 2-1 down to AEK Larnaca with the home leg left to play.
Slovacko vs Fenerbahce (Thursday, 6pm BST)
Fenerbahce had been knocked out in the second qualifying round of the Champions League by Dynamo Kyiv, but they look in complete control of their two-legged Europa League qualifier with Slovacko.
The Turkish side were emphatic 3-0 winners in Istanbul, with Emre Mor opening the scoring before Lincoln bagged a brace, and it would take an almighty collapse for them not to advance.
Slovacko are involved in Europa League qualifying for the first time in the club's history and were out of their depth in Turkey, although they will be much happier returning to home soil.
Slovacko may be inexperienced in Europe but they failed to win only three of their 21 competitive home games last season and are sure to make it difficult for Fenerbache.
Domestically, Slovacko recorded wins over the likes of Sparta Prague and Slovan Liberec last term and are evidently a different proposition on their own patch.
Slovacko recorded a fourth-place finish in the Czech First League last season while Fener finished runners-up to Trabzonspor in the Turkish top flight.
Last season, Fener reached the Europa League group stages and, despite drawing 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt and winning 3-0 at Antwerp, they finished third and were transferred to the Europa Conference League.
If Slovacko still believe they can bridge the first-leg deficit then they will need to play on the front foot and their desperation for goals could lead to an open affair.
They failed to register a shot on target in Turkey but their cause was not helped by being reduced to 10 men shortly after half-time, while they failed to score only twice in 21 home outings last season.
Fener kick-started their Super Lig campaign with a 3-3 draw at home to Umraniyespor on Monday and this is a quick turnaround for them, which enhances the prospects of goals for both sides here.
Partizan Belgrade vs AEK Larnaca (Thursday, 8pm BST)
Partizan Belgrade were beaten 2-1 in Cyprus by AEK Larnaca last week but the Serbian side should fancy their chances of exacting some revenge at home.
Partizan had opened the scoring in Larnaca and arguably had the better opportunities, having won the shot count 13 to six.
But AEK were more clinical as goals from Angel Garcia and Hrvoje Milicevic helped them come from behind and claim a first-leg lead.
Partizan have more European pedigree and as recently as 2019-20 they were in the Europa League group stages, competing alongside the likes of Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar.
Like many of the top teams in Europe, Partizan are extremely efficient on home turf and they have lost only two of their last 32 competitive games in Belgrade, winning on 25 occasions.
AEK Larnaca, on the other hand, are more vulnerable on their travels and have triumphed in only three of their last 14 competitive away games.
The visitors have scored in each of their last 12 matches in all competitions, however, so may not go down lightly.
Partizan were in the Europa Conference League group stages last season and finished runners-up to Gent in Group B, taking four points from two meetings from Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta along the way.
Anorthosis finished five points behind AEK Larnaca in the Cypriot top flight last term so that looks a key form line as Partizan bid to claim the win they require.
Ilija Stolica’s side are a dominant force when armed with home advantage and should come out on top, with a 2-1 victory looking most appealing.