A hot battle for group victory?

Three teams in Group F of the Europa League still have a chance of winning the group and thus a direct ticket to the last 16. Braga and Red Star Belgrade have the best starting position. It is clear that the winner of this match will avoid the intermediate round, while Midtjylland would be the laughing stock with an away win in Rasgrad if both teams draw at the Estádio Municipal de Braga.

Meanwhile, defeat could still see both teams relegated to the Conference League. Ahead of the encounter, the odds are swinging in the Portuguese’s favour for Braga against Red Star Belgrade.

The Serbian defence will be the most important factor. With only three goals conceded, Red Star has the best defence in Group F. In six of the last eight away games in the Europa League group stage, the Serbs even kept a clean sheet. Now, however, they are hosting the Portuguese, who are very strong at home.

We do not expect a high-scoring match and would not completely rule out a draw. Accordingly, we find the greatest value in Braga vs. Red Star Belgrade in the tip on the double chance 1X with under 3.5 goals

Braga – Statistics & current form

Sporting Clube de Braga have never won the Portuguese championship before, but they did win the Taça de Portugal for the third time this summer. The Arcebispos (the Archbishops) also reached the final of the Europa League in the summer of 2011.

In general, the northern Portuguese have become an absolute perennial favourite in this competition. In the last seven seasons, they have reached the Europa League group stage six times. Only once have they failed to make it out of the preliminary round in one piece.

Unbeaten in nine home games in EL group stage

The international home record of Carlos Carvalhal’s team reads accordingly well. SC Braga have won 13 of their last 20 home games in the Europa League group stages (four draws, three defeats).

Most recently, the Arcebispos have gone unbeaten in nine consecutive home games (six wins, three draws) and have always scored more than one goal in all nine matches – 26 goals in total. In the current group stage, they have routed Midtjylland (3:1) and Ludogorets Rasgrad (4:2) in style.

Defensively not always stable

Now, however, the northern Portuguese will have to face the Serbians’ stable defence, which the Carvahal team had to fight against for a long time in the first leg (final score: 1:2). In addition, their own defence was not always stable. In the NOS league, they have already conceded 15 goals in 13 league games, and in the Europa League they have conceded eight goals in their five group games.

Accordingly, it is anything but a foregone conclusion to bet on a home win for the Arcebispos against Red Star Belgrade in Braga, who must by no means go through the wall with their heads against defensively well-sorted Serbians.

Predicted line-up of Braga:
Sá – Leite – Rodrigues – P. Oliveira – Couto – Galeno – Mineiro – Castro – Horta – Medeiros – V. Oliveira

Last matches played by Braga:

Liga Portugal
12/05 2021 – Braga 2 – 0 Estoril

11/30 2021 – Braga 4 – 1 Vizela

Europa League Grp. F
11/25 2021 – FC Midtjylland 3 – 2 Braga

11/20 2021 – Braga 6 – 0 Santa Clara

Liga Portugal
11/07 2021 – Benfica 6 – 1 Braga

Red Star Belgrade – Statistics & current form

Red Star Belgrade is not only the absolute flagship of Serbian football, but also one of the most prestigious teams in all of Eastern Europe. Among other things, Crvena Zvezda won the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – the predecessor to the Champions League – in 1991.

After an almost perfect season without a single defeat in the league, the reigning Serbian champions missed out on the Champions League qualifying stage against Sheriff Tiraspol. Instead, the Serbians are now heading for the Europa League round of 16.

Seven competitive games won in a row

Even the draw in Braga could be enough for the Crveno-beli to win the group, provided Midtjylland do not win the parallel match in Bulgaria. If the Serbs even manage an away win in the Portuguese north, there would be no question of them winning the group.

Dejan Stankovic’s team will start this away match with a lot of tailwind. Crvena Zvezda have won all of their last seven competitive matches, scoring 15 goals to 2. However, they are currently “only” second in the Super liga Srbije behind their unbeaten city rivals Partizan Belgrade, with 50 points out of a possible 57.

Haven’t conceded a goal in six of the last eight EL group games

Meanwhile, the Serbians’ international away record also reads very well. In six of their last eight away games in the Europa League group stage, the Crveno-beli remained without conceding a goal. This means that the Serbs have also picked up four out of a possible six points away from home this season.

The defensive stability of Stankovic’s team, which has conceded just three goals in five group matches, will be crucial once again.

Predicted line-up of Red Star Belgrade:
Borjan – Smic – Erakovic – Dragovic – Pankov – Gajic – Ivanic – Petrovic – Kanga – Pavkov – Katai

Last matches played by Red Star Belgrade:

1st Division
12/05 2021 – Napredak 0 – 2 Red Star Belgrade

12/01 2021 – Red Star Belgrade 1 – 0 Vozdovac Belgrade

11/28 2021 – Red Star Belgrade 3 – 0 FK Spartak Subotica

Europa League Grp. F
11/25 2021 – Red Star Belgrade 1 – 0 PFK Ludogorez Razgrad

1st Division
11/21 2021 – Mladost Lucani 1 – 5 Red Star Belgrade

Braga – Red Star Belgrade Direct comparison / H2H Ranking

Head to head: 1 – 2 – 1

The two teams have faced each other four times and the overall record is even. After three games in a row without a win, it was the Serbs who beat the Portuguese for the first time in the first leg with a 2-1 victory at home in Belgrade.

Braga – Red Star Belgrade tip

For Braga against Red Star Belgrade, the prediction is largely influenced by the starting position. The winner of this match will win Group F, avoid the intermediate round, where the Champions League relegated teams await, and advance directly to the round of 16. Meanwhile, if the game ends in a draw, the Serbians could, with a little help from the referees, also be able to claim the one point they need to finish top.

The defensively very stable Crveno-beli are likely to play a wait-and-see approach in the Portuguese north and look for counter-attacks. There is a lot to be said for a low-scoring affair, while the Arcebispos’ home strength argues against a home defeat.

There is therefore a lot of value for the combined bet on the double chance 1X with under 3.5 goals, for which betting odds of 1.77 are available for Braga against Red Star Belgrade.

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