Levante UD (Spain) vs. Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece)
Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men qualified for the round of 32 thanks to a job well done throughout the qualifying and group-stages; losing only once to Group L leaders, Hannover. It was anticipated (by myself, at least) that the two clubs to emerge from Group L would be Hannover and Levante. I didn’t think Twente and Helsingborg would manage against these two teams; and as it were, they didn’t.
Míchel’s men, the Champions of Greece, having been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in a very tight Group B. They probably have the upper hand over Levante, because unlike Levante, who are struggling for a position in the Europa League next season, they stand strong and confident at the top of the Super League table. This makes this match even more exciting!
I don’t need to mention Obafemi Martins or the sensational Fennec Fox, Raffik Djebour (Fennec Fox because of his Algerian roots) because the fact that these players are two of the best from both teams just speaks for itself! Although these two haven’t really been as fruitful in the Europa League, their domestic league form has been superb! 16 in 16 for Djebbour plus 2 assists! 7 in 17 for Martins plus 2 assists. Konstantinos Mitroglou is another player to watch out for; I mean with 4 goals in 6 matches in the Europa League so far, how could he not be?! For Levante, I think that Pedro Rios on the Right Wing, Michel somewhere in central-midfield, and Iborra not too far behind him would be something!
My prediction for the first leg of this game to be played in Valencia would be an Olympiacos victory. For the second leg of this game to be played in Piraeus, I predict a goalless draw.
1st Leg: Levante UD 1-2 Olympiacos Piraeus
2nd Leg: Olympiacos Piraeus 0-0 Levante UD
Internazionale Milano (Italy) vs. CFR 1907 Cluj (Romania)
Possibly one of the most exciting matches in the competition this season! Although I haven’t watched too much of the Champions of Romania, Cluj, I know that despite the fact that they’ve been struggling this season, they are no walkover! I mean, considering the fact that they’re from the Champions League, and not the Europa League like their opponents, they shouldn’t be considered a walkover; not even close! Paulo Sergio’s men were so close to going through to the round of 16 in the Champions League, but were only just surpassed by Galatasaray in a very strong Group H.
Andrea Stramaccioni’s men, on the other hand, are known all over the world as one of the strongest clubs in Italy and Europe as a whole – they’ve already got three Europa League trophies (in what concerns this competition) in their cabinet to prove it! They finished second in their Europa League flight this season; only just losing out to Rubin Kazan for the first spot. They resume the Europa League with more strength in their midfield, thanks to the signing of Swiss midfielder, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, from Stuttgart on deadline day. We are yet to see him get too involved in their game, but I trust that the Europa League will get to see him play quite a bit. Livaja, Inter’s top scorer in this competition’s departure to Atalanta might or might not affect Inter’s competition for the remainder of the season. It will have to take someone stronger, however, to do what he could; especially against Cluj! Same goes for Coutinho.
Without mentioning the Cassanos and the Militos (because it’s too obvious), I think Cambiasso and Palacio will cause a lot of damage to Cluj defenders! I think that the world also needs to watch out for Joel Obi! For Cluj, I think that Rui Pedro is a player we will all enjoy watching in this competition! Great player! Kapetanos and Bastos are also going to be essential.
My prediction for the first leg of this game to be played at the very legendary Giuseppe Meazza Stadium would be a narrow win for Inter. For the second leg of this game to be played in Cluj-Napoca, my prediction would be another win for the Italian side, taking them to the Europa League Round of 16 .
1st Leg: Internazionale Milano 3-2 CFR 1907 Cluj
2nd Leg: CFR 1907 Cluj 1-2 Internazionale Milano
Written by Ange Marline