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Preview: Matchday 3 of the Europa League

Real Betis vs Leverkusen and all the Matchday 3 games in the UEFA Europa League

October 21, 2021 By Ali M.
Several exciting showdowns are set to take place on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Europa League. Here's everything you need to know about Thursday's fixtures.

The latest UEFA Champions League round has wrapped up, meaning the focus now shifts to the UEFA Europa League. While this tournament usually takes place on only Thursdays, Matchday 3 has already kicked off, with two fixtures having already been staged.

Celtic hosted Ferencvaros on Tuesday, and beat them 2-0, before Leicester locked horns with Spartak Moskva on Wednesday in a thrilling 4-3 victory, with Patson Daka netting a super hat-trick to pull his team back from two-nil down.

As a result, only fourteen fixtures will take place today, with six set to commence at 12:45 p.m. ET while the remaining eight will get underway at 3 p.m. ET as usual. Group E; the group that consists of Galatasaray, Lazio, Marseille, and Lokotomiv Moskva; will offer fans some interesting encounter this round while others eagerly await Napoli's fixture after their abysmal start to the campaign. Here's everything you need to know about Matchday 3 of the UEFA Europa League.

UEFA Europa League standings ahead of Matchday 3


Top games to watch on Matchday 3 in the UEFA Europa League

The four top-of-the-table clashes set to take place on Thursday

Four standout top-of-the-table clashes are scheduled for today, the headline one being Real Betis vs Bayer Leverkusen. Both sides are tied on six points in Group G, with the Germans occupying the no.1 spot thanks to their superior goal difference. Die Werkself head into this clash on the back of their embarrassing 5-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich over the weekend and will thus look to return to winning ways. Unfortunately for them, Los Verdiblancos have won all but one of their last five fixtures and will thus be no walk in the park.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt and Olympiakos Piraeus, who sit second and first respectively in Group D, will battle it out for the all-important three points, as only two points separate these two clubs. The same is true for Group A, with first-placed Lyon set to visit second-placed Sparta Praha, who are only two points behind, as the French giants aim to maintain their grip on the top spot. Then we have PSV vs Monaco, with both teams tied on four points each, though they sit first and second in the table respectively. Given that Real Sociedad are only two points behind, victory will see one team take the driving seat while the loser will be left in danger.

Napoli, Fenerbahce, and the other top teams fighting to avoid a group-stage exit

Napoli will be taking on first placed Legia Warszawa and while the Italians have been unstoppable in Serie A this season, they are yet to pick up a single win in the Europa League. Second-placed Leicester are only three points ahead, meaning Osimhen and Co. can turn things around, but they will need to beat Thursday's opponents first. 

Similarly, Rangers enter their clash with Brondby sitting bottom of the table in Group A. The Scottish giants who won their domestic league last season without losing a single game have suffered defeats in their first two European fixtures of this campaign and thus boast zero points. However, given that Lyon and Sparta Praha are set to face off, victory on Thursday could see Gerrard's side return to the mix. Then there is Fenerbace, the Super Lig's third-highest team, who boast only one point in Group D. The Turkish giants will take on bottom-of-the-table Antwerp knowing that they must secure the three points if they wish to make up ground on Olypiakos and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Then there is Lazio vs Marseille

These teams sit second and third in Group E respectively, with Lazio boasting a one-point advantage over their rivals. The Eagles enter this clash on the back of an excellent 3-1 win over defending Serie A champions Inter Milan while Marseille registered an emphatic 4-1 victory over Lorient over the weekend. Do not miss this showdown!

Who's in and who's out

Here are the list of players ruled out for the upcoming round from the UEFA Europa League's top clubs:

Napoli: Adam Ounas, Kevin Malcuit, and Mario Rui

Marseille: Amine Harit

Lazio: None

Galatasaray: Sacha Boey, Arda Turan, and Omar Elabdellaoui

Real Sociedad: Carlos Fernandez, Nacho Monreal, Jon Guridi, and Mikel Oyarzabal (injured); Asier Illarramendi, Diego Rico, and Ander Barrenetxea (doubtful)

PSV: Richard Ledezma, Ritsu Doan, and Ibrahim Sangare

Monaco: Cesc Fabregas and Djibril Sidibe

West Ham: Alex Kral (out); Ryan Fredericks, Vladimir Coufal, Tomas Soucek, and Mark Noble (doubtful)

Real Betis: Youssouf Sabaly 

Bayer Leverkusen: Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Julian Baumgartlinger, Exequiel Palacios, Charles Aranguiz

Full list of games for Matchday 3 in the UEFA Europa League

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