We did a brief recap of Leg 1, featuring the four matches that saw the biggest increase in advancing odds for one of the clubs. We’re also covering the eight most compelling matchups for Leg 2 (eventually; check back for the unlinked ones before things kick off Thursday!), which you can find linked here (home teams listed first):
- Dinamo Zagreb v Viktoria Plzen
- Red Bull Salzburg v Club Brugge
- Genk v Slavia Prague
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Krasnodar
- Eintracht Frankfurt v Shakhtar Donetsk
- Dynamo Kiev v Olympiacos
- Zenit Saint Petersburg v Fenerbahçe
- Arsenal v BATE Borisov
As for the other eight matchups, the results from Leg 1 have moved the odds of advancement for one club to more than 80% (according to FiveThirtyEight), so while the underdogs in those matchups could still prevail, chances are they are not going to. Here’s a quick look at the Leg 1 match and the current odds for the remainder of the tournament.
Sevilla managed to pull of a 1-0 victory on the road during Leg 1, giving them the advantage as the play moves to Spain. With the win, Sevilla increased their odds of advancing to the Round of 16 to 83% (from 61%), and now have a 1-in-10 chance of winning the whole thing.
After winning 3-1 in Switzerland on Thursday, Napoli remained the overall favorite in the tournament (13% chance) and has over a 99% chance of advancing to the Round of 16. It would take a miracle for Zürich to advance at this point (they would need to win by more than two goals while scoring at least three).
I had high hopes for Celtic despite long odds, but Valencia looked every bit the favorite in a 2-0 victory in Scotland on Thursday. With the win, Valencia is favored to advance in 97% of simulations (up from 73%), as well as win the whole tournament 11% of the time.
Villarreal scored early in the Leg 1 match, notching the only goal in the third minute then holding on for a 1-0 victory. Not a huge deficit to overcome, but Sporting saw their odds of advancing drop to 20% (down from 42%).
In one of the more exciting matches of Leg 1, Real Betis notched a come-from-behind 3-3 draw, scoring twice in the second half to improve their odds of advancing to 81% (up from 62%). Less of a miracle required here, but Rennes has to be a little disheartened after having a victory in their grasp last Thursday.
Benfica won 2-1 last Thursday, giving them an extra “away” goal should this one come down to a tiebreaker. In the process, they saw their odds of advancing to the Round of 32 increase to 86% (from 62%), while also improving their overall odds in the tournament to 7%.
Inter entered Leg 1 with a 96% chance of advancing, won 1-0, and now have a greater than 99% chance of advancing, and remain the overall favorite with a 13% chance of winning it all in Baku. Rapid is just not having that great of a season, and it would also take a miracle against one of the strongest clubs in European football for them to advance in this one.
It took the Blues a half hour to get going on Thursday, but eventually they looked like a club that was playing much lesser competition in a 2-1 victory. Not to put Malmö down, but it was important for Chelsea to win, especially after they saw their EPL mate Arsenal lose to BATE Borisov earlier in the day. The win in Sweden moved Chelsea’s advancement odds up to 96%, and they also increased their odds of winning the entire tournament to 12%, placing them directly behind Inter as the second favorite.
The overall odds for the clubs here could be impacted by their draw, so we’ll have to see if there is a dramatic shift in anything after the first match in the round this week. If there are any upsets among this group (or the other eight), it could be quite the shake up. We’ll be keeping an eye on it all to see if anything changes before next week’s matches kick off on the 20th!
Until next time…