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The UEFA Europa League (UEL) playoff round had some interesting first-leg encounters, but none more so than the highest-scoring clash of them all, which now sees Monaco bring a 3-2 aggregate advantage to the Stade Louis II as they look to wrap up the series against Bayer Leverkusen. Monaco will feel confident of doing just that, and history backs them up, as they have made it through all 14 UEFA competition ties in which they have won the first leg away from home.

Coach Philippe Clement knows that simply avoiding defeat will complete the job, something he is confident of achieving considering his side are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions (G6, E2). The Monegasques also boast an impressive record against Leverkusen, with just one defeat in the previous seven meetings (G4, E2), which will serve to support their belief that the Round of 16 awaits them.

Leverkusen failed to recover from their first-leg loss in Bundesliga action at the weekend, where another 3-2 defeat, this time to Mainz, made it four losses in their last five games (G1). As such, the odds are against Xabi Alonso’s side for this clash, especially as Leverkusen have failed to reverse a home defeat in a first leg of a two-legged series in any major European competition in their previous 11 attempts.

On the positive side, Leverkusen has had some success as an away side recently by winning three of their last four games in that capacity (P1), although failing to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 such games will be a concern as they start this match at a disadvantage. Their record at this stage in a European competition is not the best either, with seven of Leverkusen’s last ten appearances in the knockout rounds finishing in the first series.

Players to watch: Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder has scored 13 of his last 16 goals at club level before the break, while young prodigy Florian Wirtz will be looking for the limelight after scoring in the first leg, with that being just the second time Leverkusen have lost in the last 19 games in which they have seen opponents on target (G16, E1).
Weekend stat: Monaco has recorded a goalless first half in just two of its last 12 matches.

OVER 2.5 GOALS Odds: 2.00

The odds presented in the prediction may vary at the time of verification.

Author: Daniel Morgan