With the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage looming, this is the final chance for teams to book themselves a place in European competition for the remainder of the season. One of the most intriguingly poised ties in the Europa League playoffs is the match-up between Fenerbahce of Turkey and FK Vardar of Macedonia. The Turks came into the tie as favourites to progress but face a tough test having lost the first leg 2-0.
UEFA Europa League First playoff round – Şükrü Saracoğlu, Istanbul – 24th August – 18:00 UK Time
Best Odd of: 1/7 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 7 at Sky Bet
Best Odd of: 33 at Coral
Fenerbahce have a long history in European competition and have reached the semi-final of the Europa League and the quarter-final of the Champions League in recent years. FK Vardar have failed to progress beyond qualifying round two of any European competition in the past 7 years, this year in the Champions League being the first time they have managed it before being eliminated by FC Copenhagen.
Fenerbahce have not started the season well and have failed to win any of their last 4 matches in all competitions. They have won just 1 games in the new season which came in the previous round of the Europa League away to Sturm Graz. The 2-1 victory was enough to see them through with the home leg finishing in a 1-1 draw.
In the Turkish Super Lig, Fenerbahce have drawn their 2 matches and both finished 2-2, the first away to Goztepe and the second at home to Trabzonspor.
Conceding goals has been a problem and Fenerbahce are yet to keep a clean sheet this season. However, they are unbeaten in 10 home Europa League games but just one of those results was good enough to take them through in this tie.
FK Vardar Form
Having defeated Malmo in the second round of Champions League qualifying, FK Vardar had their sights set on a place in the group stages of the competition. They produced a good performance when defeating FC Copenhagen 1-0 at home in the third round but fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat in Denmark, a result which saw them drop into the Europa League playoff round.
Having lost 2-0 to Shkendija in their first domestic league game of the season, FK Vardar bounced back with the win over Fenerbahce and a 4-0 win over Pobeda on the weekend. FK Vardar have failed to win any of their 3 away games this season, drawing 1 and losing 2 with only one of those results being good enough to take them through in this tie.
Fenerbahce will be without centre back Yigithan Guveli, midfielder Uygar Zeybek, and striker Fernandao who are all injured. Souza is suspended having been sent off last week. FK Vardar do not have many injury worries ahead of the trip to Istanbul but must make do without defender Boban Grncarov who saw red in the first leg.
Our Top Betting Tips & Predictions
Fenerbahce have proven very difficult to beat at home in the Europa League and should have enough about them to win this match. Fenerbahce are 1/7 with Ladbrokes to win on the night.
However, progressing to the next round may be a different story and Fenerbahce will need to score at least 3 goals if they are to win the tie in normal time. This is something they have achieved only once in their last 11 home Europa League games. Fenerbahce are 8/13 to score over 2.5 goals.
FK Vardar struggled away to FC Copenhagen having won the first leg 1-0 and were soundly beaten 4-1 in the away leg. You can get 7/2 with Ladbrokes for Fenerbahce to win the match by 3 goals and qualify for the group stages