Next up in our continuing coverage of Europa League is another match that saw a scoreless draw during Leg 1. Genk is the home team in this one, welcoming Slavia Prague to Belgium with both clubs hoping to advance to the Round of 16.
The match kicks off from Luminus Arena in Genk, Belgium on Thursday, 21 February at 8:00pm GMT (3:00pm EST).
What Happened in Leg 1
This matchup looked like a bit of a dud heading into Leg 1 , with Genk the pre-match favorite with a 75% chance of advancing. Leg 1 didn’t lack in shots – the clubs combined for 24 shots on goal – but only eight of those attempts were deemed “on target,” saving a lot of work for keepers Ondřej Kolář of Prague and Danny Vukovic of Genk.
Slavia Prague has been dynamite at home all season long, so it was kind of expected that the first leg would be a low-scoring affair. Slavia Prague has yet to be scored on at home in four home matches in Europa League competition, and has surrendered only ten goals at home across all competitions this year. I’m sure they’re hoping for the opportunity to continue that performance in the Round of 16.
What the Experts are Saying
That scoreless draw slightly decreased Genk’s odds of advancing, but they still have a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over Slavia Prague (68% to 32% according to FiveThirtyEight). This is likely because Genk has an 87% chance of winning or drawing in this one and assuring themselves a spot in the Round of 16, showing the advantages of playing host in the second leg. They also have a 1-in-4 chance (27%) of advancing past the Round of 16, and a non-zero chance of winning the whole thing.
What We’re Thinking
I think I have to go with the experts in this one. Genk has lost only twice at home during the Belgian First Division season, and prevailed during the Europa League group stage by allowing only one goal at home. That should continue in this one, and Genk should be Belgium’s lone representative remaining in UEFA competition at the end of the day.
Until next time…