A 2-0 loss away from home is a notoriously difficult result to come back from but Sparta Prague need to do exactly that if they are to progress in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League. Sparta Prague are the most successful club in the history of Czech Republic football and one of the top teams in central Europe. They have reached the semi-finals of the European Cup and made the Round of 32 in the Europa League last season, going out to Rostov.
Red Star Belgrade have won the European Cup but have failed to qualify for the group stages in over 20 years.
They have failed to reach the group stages of the Europa League in their last 8 attempts between 2008/09 and 2016/17.
Sparta Prague Form
The domestic league has only just begun in the Czech Republic and Sparta Prague started their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Bohemians 1905, a game they were hoping to win.
However, they are undefeated at home in their last 16 games in all competitions, a run which includes both Czech league games and Europa League games from last season.
At home in the Europa League, Sparta Prague are very difficult to beat, losing only 1 of their last 17 games in the competition at the Generali Arena. The Czech’s failed to score in just one of those games and kept 7 clean sheets.
Red Star Belgrade Form
Much like their hosts, Red Star Belgrade have only recently started their domestic league campaign and sit third having won their 2 games.
They followed the 2-0 home win over Sparta Prague in the first leg of this tie by defeating Rad Beograd 2-0 away from home in the Super Liga.
Red Star Belgrade are undefeated in their last 6 Europa League games, picking up 3 wins and 3 draws. However, away form makes for different reading and Red Star Belgrade have failed to win any of their last 7 away Europa League games.
The good news is the results in 6 of those 7 games would be enough to take them through in this tie.
Sparta Prague have a full squad to pick from for this game and Andrea Stramaccioni may opt to pair veteran strikers Marc Janko and David Lafata in attack. The experienced Thomas Rosicky is fit and will hope to control the play in midfield.
With a 2-0 led to defend, Vladan Milojevic will be relying on key defenders Filip Stojkovic and Dusan Andelkovic to keep Red Star Belgrade’s lead intact. Aleksandar Pesic will look for the vital away goal.
Top Betting Tips
Sparta Prague have been so good at home in the Europa League and Red Star Belgrade so bad away that the home team must be favourites to win the match at 17/20 with Ladbrokes.
However, with a 2-0 deficit to defend, Red Star Belgrade do not need to force the pace of this game and would be more than happy to take a draw. Do not be surprised to see this match end level and the draw is 12/5 at William Hill.
Red Star Belgrade have scored a goal in 5 of their last 7 away Europa League games and Sparta Prague have conceded in 5 of their last 7 home games in the competition. Both teams to score seems like a good bet at 19/20 with William Hill.