Slavia Prague vs. FC Astana / Europa League – This is another direct showdown for reaching the knockout phase of the Europa League. In the Group A champions of Czech Republic and Kazakhstan, Slavia Prague and Astana, meet in the last, sixth round and Slavia is in much better situation ahead of the match as it is second in the table and has one point more than third-placed Astana, so it needs just a draw to reach the knockout phase. Let’s add that their first head-to-head played in Astana ended as 1-1 draw. Begins: 07.12.2017 – 19:00 CET
Besides the draw in faraway Kazakhstan the team from Prague had won Maccabi Tel Aviv two times, and lost away and drew at home with Spanish Villarreal. At the moment it occupies the second place in the Group A table having eight points, which is three fewer than Villarreal, which had already qualified for the knockout phase. On the other hand, their next rival Astana had lost both times to the Spaniards and right because of that it has one point fewer than Slavia.
The team from Prague won the title in the Czech championship last year after eight years of waiting, but this season it is hard to expect that can repeat the result as after 16 rounds they have even 14 points fewer than leading Plzen, and most probably ahead of them is a great battle for at least the second place that also leads to the Champions League qualifiers. Regarding problems with the team ahead of match with Astana, due to injuries out of action are only defenders Svento and Flo, and experienced midfielder Rotan.
Probable lineups Slavia Prague: Lastuvka – Frydrych, Deli, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Sobol – Soucek, Husbauer – Stoch, Danny, Zmrhal – Skoda
Regarding Astana, we have said that it occupies the third place in the table ahead of match with Slavia and has one point fewer than them, so it is quite clear that they need victory in Prague in order to qualify for the knockout phase. Four-time consecutive champions of Kazakhstan had also won Maccabi both times, besides home draw with Slavia, but unlike the Czechs they haven’t won a single point from matches with Villarreal, which is why they have the backlog ahead of the last round.
Besides, we have to know that Kazakhstan championship had ended one month ago and Astana is not in top competitive form but at least they are far more rested than they rivals from Prague. Astana won its fourth consecutive title of national champion thanks to having just one point more than Kairat. The Kazakhs can boast with fact that two years ago they played in the group phase of Champions League. Let’s add that currently out of action is only injured midfielder Kleinheisler.
Probable lineups FC Astana: Eric – Shitov, Anicic, Postnikov, Shomko – Grahovac, Maevskiy – Twumasi, Tagybergen, Tomasov – Kabananga
Slavia Prague – FC Astana PICK
Given that the guests from Kazakhstan only victory takes to the knockout phase of Europa League it seems that spectators in Prague should see a fully open match and by that goals on both sides of the pitch.
Pick: both teams to score
Odds: 2.05 at sportingbet (down to 1.95 can be played)