The 2018-19 UEFA Europa League season starts this Thursday, September 20th, 2018, and the first round of the group stage will see an interesting game between two clubs that are sponsored by Red Bull, as RB Leipzig welcomes Salzburg at Red Bull Arena in Leipzig. The hosts are considered as -110 favorites by the bookmakers, but the visitors are the last season’s semi-finalists so they shouldn’t be written off in this one.
RB LEIPZIG vs. SALZBURG
Three-way: 1: RB Leipzig -110; X: +250 Draw; 2: Salzburg +290
Spread -0.5: RB Leipzig -110; Salzburg -110
Total 2.5 Goals: Over -154; Under +120
Both Teams to Score: Yes -175; No +125
The Red Bulls from Leipzig had to pass through the qualification rounds to reach the group stage of the Europa League. First, they’ve beaten the Swedish team Hacken 5-1 on aggregate, then the Romanian side Craiova 4-2 on aggregate, winning the first leg at home 3-1, while in the ultimate round, RB Leipzig has eliminated the Ukrainian side Zorya 3-2 on aggregate after a 3-2 victory in the second leg in front of the home fans. They were so close to the elimination, but Emil Forsberg converted the penalty in the dying minutes of the second half to guide them through.
In the German Bundesliga, RB Leipzig has a 1-1-1 record with a 5:7 goal difference, as they conceded in all three games, including a 3-2 victory over Hannover 96 at home on last weekend. The 21-year old striker Jean-Kevin Augustin is the team’s leading scorer with five goals in all competitions, while the forwards Matheus Cunha and Yussuf Poulsen both added three goals each. The playmaker Emil Forsberg is the best assist-maker so far with three dishes, also adding a couple of goals to his account. The manager Ralf Rangnick can count on all players, so the bettors can expect his best eleven on the field.
- RB Leipzig is unbeaten in the last six home games, recording five wins and a draw
- RB Leipzig conceded in four home games straight
- Six out of 11 tilts this season had at least three goals in the total
The Austrian champions have reached the Europa League after failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League which was a huge disappointment for the Red Bulls from Salzburg. They’ve beaten the Macedonian champion Shkendija 4-0 on aggregate, but in the ultimate round, Salzburg was eliminated by Red Star Belgrade. The first leg in Belgrade was ended in a nil-nil draw, and after a 2-2 stalemate in Salzburg, Red Star progresses on away goals, although the Red Bulls had a 2-0 lead.
It was a kick in the teeth for this Salzburg team that won all seven games in the domestic championship so far with an 18:5 goal difference. The 26-year old striker Munas Dabbur is leading the team with nine goals in 12 appearances in all competitions, whilst the forward Smail Prevljak has bagged five goals in eight apps thus far. The experienced playmaker Zlatko Junuzovic had made four assists in seven games, just like the 19-year old attacking midfielder Hannes Wolf who also has a goal on his account. The manager Marco Rose cannot count on Smail Prevljak due to a knee injury, while Zlatko Junuzovic is still doubtful with a hamstring injury.
- Salzburg is unbeaten in 12 consecutive games overall
- Salzburg conceded in four games in a row
- Seven out of 12 outings this season had at least three goals in the total
This should be a highly entertaining game as both sides prefer an attacking approach with a high pressure, so the bettors can expect to see some goals. However, the bookies are well aware, setting the odds at -110 on both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in total. This sounds like a reasonable wager, while the bettors who want greater wages can try with over 3.5 goals at +162, or both teams to score in the first half at +300.
The hosts are -110 favorites to grab a win for a reason, and the bettors should know that in the last few years, the best Salzburg’s players mostly go to RB Leipzig. Although the hosts’ defense doesn’t play well at the start of the season, I’m backing them to win this one.
The Pick: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals at -110
Additional Pick: RB Leipzig at -110