Europa League Group H: The ‘Group Of Death’?
After a bittersweet finish to the 2017/18 season for Lazio, this season’s Europa League looked like another way for Lazio to redeem themselves and find another way into the Champions League. However, after they were put into what some might call the group of death, Simone Inzaghi might have a little more of a struggle to progress than he expected.
What should we expect from Lazio’s opponents in this group stage?
Marseille are a very underrated French side who did have a pretty decent 2017/18 campaign finishing 4th in Ligue 1 with 77 points and only losing 5 games out of the 38 they played last season. On top of that, just like Lazio they were close to qualifying Champions League but fell short as they lost in the Europa League final last season 3-0 to Atletico Madrid. They do have some dangerous players like Dimitri Payet who did finish as last season’s Europa League top assister as well as Kevin Strootman; a familiar face who they recently signed from the Biancocelesti’s rival AS Roma. Overall, a French side that is not to be underestimated.
This German side didn’t really have the best of campaigns as they finished 8th in the Bundesliga last season with 49 points; only getting 1 more win than losses in their record (14W-7D-13L). They did however finish the 2017/18 season off on a high note as they defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 in the DFB-Pokal Final; making headlines and proving the predictions wrong. However, to start off this new campaign this season they did not start off well as Bayern Munich got their revenge on Frankfurt in the DFL Supercup; as Frankfurt suffered a 5-0 thrashing by the 2017/18 Bundesliga Champions. Even if one of their strongest players, Kevin Prince Boateng, left Frankfurt to join Serie A side Sassuolo they still have some strong players to look out for, like Ante Rebic who had a strong campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Croatia, as well as Kevin Trapp who is on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. With the German side having an up and down campaign these past few months they still aren’t a team to take lightly.
Apollon Limassol play their football in the Cypriot First Division. They were in the 2017/18 Europa League last season but unfortunately finished last in their group. They did however have a better 2017/18 campaign in their domestic league, finishing 2nd in the Cypriot First Division with 61 points and only losing 1 game out of the 26 game season. They did also have the best defence in the Cypriot First Division last season as they conceded the least amount of goals in the whole league (15). Overall they are the weakest side of this group however a side that can still cause some problems for its opponents.
Overall, out of all the groups in this season’s Europa League, Group H is probably going to be one of the tightest groups with many great matches to watch. Can Lazio make it out of this group or will it be an early exit for the Biancocelesti?
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