There are a lot of storylines at work here for the final four of the Europa League. On one hand, we have three clubs gunning for their first Europa League title. RB Leipzig could have a chance at redemption after getting ousted from the Champions League while West Ham United is in search of its first international title in over 22 years. The Europa League odds favor Leipzig and West Ham though Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers F.C. have the experience…
How They Got Here: The Europa League Semi-finalists
After flaming out of the Champions League, Leipzig got a quick path to the semi-finals. Spartak Moscow bowed out of the tournament and Leipzig handled business against Atalanta. Now, it gets the Glasgow Rangers who it should easily beat. This is the furthest Leipzig has been in the Europa League after it was just in the semi-finals of the Champions League two seasons ago.
West Ham United
Like the other three clubs remaining, West Ham United is in uncharted territory here. It took out Sevilla in the Round of 16 and then ousted Lyon despite getting outplayed for most of the two legs. West Ham, otherwise, has had a solid run in the league and finished the Group Stage with a 4-1-1 record and a +8 goal differential, the third-best behind Lyon and Leverkusen, who are both eliminated.
Eintracht Frankfurt just sent Barcelona home after upsetting the Spanish giants with a 4-3 aggregate win in the quarter-finals. This German club has yet to taste defeat in the Europa League and has alternated between draws and wins. It took out another Spanish club, Real Betis in the Round of 16. This is Frankfurt’s second semi-finals appearance in three seasons.
As a staple to the Europa League, Rangers F.C. returns to the semi-finals for the first time since the 2007-08 season, where it finished as a runner-up to Zenit Saint Petersburg. But the soccer betting odds are not kind to Glasgow who will have to keep up its Cinderella run to return to the final. It took out a shorthanded Braga in the quarterfinals after getting by Crvena Zvezda in the Round of 16.
Europa League Semi-final Leg 1 Picks
The Europa League semi-finals kick off on Thursday, April 28, a day after the Champions League. Like its counterpart, the odds here are somewhat lopsided. We went bold with our Champions League semi-final picks. Dare we pick more upsets for this one?
RB Leipzig v Glasgow Rangers, 2022-04-28
Leipzig should blitz through the Rangers here. Glasgow has worked its way to this point so it will be a tough out but Leipzig has been through a lot this year and is still a top-four outfit in the Bundesliga. We cannot underestimate the Rangers here, but it has won just two of its last 24 international competitions.
The Rangers have been a prolific offense this season, but it isn’t the same when it is playing on the road. Leipzig, on the other hand, has played elite defence in front of its faithful. It should at least be the first to break the nil-nil deadlock.
West Ham United v Eintracht Frankfurt, 2022-04-28
Frankfurt fans will be pleased to know that of the last three unbeaten teams to reach the semi-finals, two went on to hoist the trophy. This club is at its peak right now and is dangerous visiting West Ham. The underdogs did just upset Barca at the Nou Camp so we like Frankfurt to at least pull a draw here.
If Frankfurt is to beat or draw with West Ham, it will need to neutralize its attack. The German club can be offensively challenged, especially when it is playing away from home. As such, we don’t see too many goals being scored here, and the likely result could be a 1-1 draw or even nil-nil.