The Conference League’s group stage is reaching its conclusion, and Kev’s backing goals in Switzerland.
Group finale to catch the eye
Basel v Qarabag
Thursday 09 December, 20:00
Live on BT Sport
In what is perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come over the winter, Kaizer Chiefs’ trip to Golden Arrows was postponed yesterday due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
We’ll head to Switzerland now, because Basel are up against Qarabag in the Europa Conference League, and it’s a straight shootout to see who wins the group and goes automatically through to the last 16, with the group runners-up having to face a playoff against a Europa League drop-out.
Qarabag need to win, and even though the Azerbaijani side usually struggle in the Europa League, they’ve found this level a lot more to their liking. They have won 4-1 at Omonia Nicosia and 3-1 at Kairat in the group stage, and they won at Aberdeen in the qualifiers. They are also cruising along nicely in domestic football, five points clear at the top.
Like Qarabag, Basel have put together an unbeaten group stage so far, but they can be a bit hit-and-miss in general. They are four points behind surprise leaders Zurich in the Swiss Super League, and in the top flight they have won just two of their last six home matches.
It’s a winner-takes-all encounter, and I think Qarabag’s need to win will lead to an exciting clash. Both teams have scored in five of Basel’s last six games, and they haven’t kept a clean sheet since the 24th of October. Qarabag have scored in 12 of their last 13 competitive games, and I think they can find the net here, so I’ll back Both Teams To Score at 1.814/5.