The only previous occasion of West Brom losing the first leg of a play-off semi-final came against Swansea City in the third-tier play-offs in 1992-93 (1-2), progressing 3-2 on aggregate courtesy on a 2-0 victory in the second leg at the Hawthorns.
Bayern are the best side in Germany, they’ve proved that once again, though some of their recent efforts on the road haven’t been overly impressive. Niko Kovač’s men drew away against Nurnberg last time out, and while they were the better side, they didn’t dominate as much as one might expect, as they emerged with an expected goal difference of +0.77. If they’re to get the better of the best home defence in the league, then Munich will need to do more.
Saturday’s visitors have also recently drawn away against Freiburg, while they faced a scare when narrowly winning (2-3) away at Augsburg prior to that. Such results show us that Bayern are not invincible.
When we look at the early betting, it’s rather simple to feel that Leipzig have been slightly overlooked. The hosts are no mugs; as touched on above, they’ve conceded far less goals at home than Bayern have on the road, while they’ve also lost less games. Bayern have a better expected goal difference on the road than Leipzig do at home, though the imbalance is far from great enough to warrant such a disparity in odds. Frankly, taking everything into consideration, Leipzig are fractionally too big and thus a bet on the hosts to gain a positive result represents value.
Girona is currently the worst team in the competition. They remain the only team to not post a single point on the board from the last six attempts. The team also lost seven of their last eight league fixtures, and at home, is winless in their last 11 appearances, and in 17 of their last 20 as well.
Importantly, Sevilla holds a 100% winning record against this opponent, and every single one of these wins was wins to nil. This season, Girona has also scored the least number of goals at home and has conceded the third-most.
With Sevilla having a great opportunity to go after their Champions League dream, count on them to deliver in this game.
The visitors should enter the match in much higher spirits having kept back-to-back clean sheets in last two rounds against Magdeburg and Bochum. They took four points from these two ties and are now ten adrift of the danger area. This means the Lilies all but secured the survival in the second class of German football with just four games left to play.
Looking at the head to head record as well as mere quality, Koln have to be considered heavy favourites here. Darmstadt were generally struggling badly on the road so far in the season. The Lilies won 3, drew 3 and lost 9 of 15 league matches away from home.
Koln won four and drew one of past five home outings in the league and they scored at least three goals in each of these wins.
Standard will go into this in completely opposite spirits. They lost two in a row in First Division A, conceding as many as seven goals in the process (4-0 at Club Brugge and 1-3 to Genk). They are now two points shy of Antwerp in third, but have a game in hand on them.
With five games left to play (six for Standard), both teams can still challenge Club Brugge in the second place which grants Champions League football next season. This is why we have reasons to expect a fantastic atmosphere in and around Bosuilstadion on Friday evening.
Looking at current form, we just have to favour 2.30 odds offered for Antwerp to claim the victory here. Both teams can be vulnerable at the back and backing goals at both ends would be a smart call as well.