Swiss outfit Luzern host Espanyol in the first leg of the Europa League third qualifying round. Die Leuchten came through the previous stage relatively untroubled, while the La Liga side trounced Stjarnan 7-1 on aggregate. The winner of this tie will take their spot in the play-offs, 180 minutes away from a place in the tournament proper, barring extra-time and penalties.
Where and when: Swissporarena, Lucerne – 8 August, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Luzern vs. Espanyol: William Hill live streaming
Last time: Thursday’s encounter will be the first ever clash between the sides.
|Draw and both teams to score||4/1||Offer|
|Under 0.5 goals||10/1||Offer|
|Espanyol to win 2-0||7/1||Offer|
Luzern v Espanyol Predictions and Preview
It has been a mixed start domestically for Luzern who have won, drawn and lost a game apiece. The Swiss team will be without winger Ruben Vargas after the youngster sealed a move to Augsburg this summer.
Vargas contributed eight goals last term and his haul was only bettered by Blessing Eleke and Pascal Schurpf who will lead the line. Eleke is a big, imposing striker and is an attractive 11/1 to open proceedings. Schurpf is 10/1 in the same market. Luzern are 10/3 to claim a first leg advantage and 5/2 to earn a share of the spoils.
Meanwhile, travelling party Espanyol are in fine fettle and have enjoyed a positive pre-season. The White and Blues will go with a two-pronged attack with Borja Iglesias joined by Facundo Ferreyra.
Iglesias operated as a lone frontman in 2-18-19 and if his Argentine team-mate can chip in with double figures in all competitions, there is no reason why the Barcelona based squad can’t match or eclipse last year’s league finish. Ferreyra bagged against Stjarnan and is 7/5 to score anytime, while Iglesias is 19/20.
Marc Roca will feature despite speculation surrounding the midfielder’s future. The 22-year-old has caught the eye of German giants Bayern Munich and despite claims of an agreement between the clubs, the Bavarians have yet to meet the asking price. Roca is 13/2 to register anytime during the game. Espanyol are strong favourites, backed at 11/4 to secure the win and 7/4 to score in both halves of action.
One to watch for Luzern: Big centre-half Marvin Schulz contributed five goals last campaign and is a real threat from set pieces. The German is 5/1 to get the final effort of the showdown.
One to watch for Espanyol: Wu Lei was a goal machine in his homeland and Coach David Gallego will hope after six months of adjustment the winger is ready to fire. The China ace is 11/2 in the same final scorer market.
Long shot: Espanyol have plundered in 18 goals from their last five matches and have the personnel to take the tie away from Luzern, much in the same vein as they successfully achieved against Stjarnan. The Spaniards are 13/1 to notch a 3-0 triumph and dent the ambitions of their opponents.