WITH a place in the Europa League round of 32 on offer for the winners, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) looks at the best bets for Wolsfburg’s meeting with Everton.
Wolfsburg v Everton | Thursday 18.00 | ITV 4
A place in the Europa League round of 32 is the prize on offer for the winners as Wolfsburg and Everton battle for top spot in Group H on matchday five.
The Toffees know a point in Germany will be enough to see them progress but travel to the Volkswagen Arena without Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Steven Naismith, Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson.
And those who missed the first meeting between these two teams at Goodison Park might be surprised to learn that the Wolves were much the better team – out-shooting their opponents by 24-12 and dominating possession.
Wolfsburg have been the second-best team behind Bayern Munich in this season’s Bundesliga and deserve maximum respect. Dieter Hecking’s side won eight consecutive fixtures before being beaten 3-2 at Schalke – the Wolves were 3-0 down after a disastrous first-half before showing their pedigree to come close to earning what would have been a deserved draw on Saturday.
Former Chelsea wideman Kevin De Bruyne has been a joy to watch in Wolfsburg colours and alongside Croatian pair Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic, the hosts have plenty of attacking threats to concern the Toffees.
Hecking’s men have hit two goals or more in their last eight outings and boast a strong record at the Volkswagen Arena this season (W7-D2). However, as Saturday showed, the Wolves are far from watertight defensively with just three shutouts to their name in front of their home supporters.
As for Everton, the Toffees have bagged four wins from an unbeaten seven-game spell and their away form shows they’re a difficult team to beat (W2-D5-L2). Martinez’s charges have also managed to net in 15/17 matches in 2014/15.
So it’s a tricky contest, not helped by the fact these two teams don’t require maximum points from this match to their place in the knockout stages. Therefore, stakes should be kept low.
With Wolfsburg (10/11 Betfred) a little too short at odds-on quotes, Both Teams To Score (4/6 Bet365) and Over 2.5 Goals (8/11 BetVictor) on the skinny side, it may pay to have a stab on a Wolfsburg win with Both Teams Scoring at 12/5 with William Hill.
Wolfsburg v Everton – Wolfsburg to win and Both Teams To Score (12/5 William Hill)