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Europa League Preview: Dortmund-Liverpool, Bilbao-Sevilla and more


The UEFA Europa League has been dwindled down to eight teams, and the Spanish La Liga holds the best opportunity to hoist the trophy with three sides remaining in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will meet the German head coach’s former side in Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, while Sporting Braga hosts Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

The two other matches are Villareal-Sparta Praha and Athletic Bilbao-Sevilla. Aritz Aduriz and Kevin Gameiro will lead the way for Bilbao and Sevilla, respectively.

Here’s a closer look at Thursday’s first leg matches:


(Signal Iduna Park, at 3:05 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3, Watch ESPN)

With a German Bundesliga title still in sight, Borussia Dortmund looks to continue its Europa League run in the quarterfinals.

The two sides haven’t met since the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League, making Thursday’s match all the more exciting. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang paces the Dortmund attack, having scored 37 goals in all competitions this season.

Liverpool is coming off of a hard-fought 3-1 aggregate victory over Manchester United in the round of 16. While the Reds currently sit ninth in the English Premier League table, Klopp’s team will be putting it all on the line against Dortmund. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho will play key roles in the Liverpool attack.


(El Madrigal, at 3:05 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3, Watch ESPN)

Sparta Prague may be the most unlikely side remaining to hoist this season’s crown, but the Czech club won’t go down without a fight.

Prague knocked out Serie A side Lazio in the previous round, 4-1 on aggregate, after four different goalscorers gave them the victory. Currently second on the Czech Liga table, Prague rides into its meeting with Villareal on a four-match win streak in domestic play.

Villareal may not be in title contention in La Liga, but Marcelino García Toral’s team surely has the opportunity to make a splash in the Europa League. While the Yellow Submarine has struggled to find goals this season, just 39 finishes in 31 matches, the side’s defense has been stout.


(San Mamés, at 3:05 p.m., Fox Sports 2, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3, Watch ESPN)

Coming off of the disposal of another La Liga side, Athletic Bilbao has the chance to do the same in the quarterfinals.

Bilbao’s move to the final eight was aided by the away goals rule against Valencia, and Sevilla will likely pose a similar threat. The two sides are level on points in Spain’s top flight, but Sevilla defeated Bilbao, 2-0, back in January.

While Sevilla is led by Gameiro’s 22 goals this season, Ever Banega and Fernando Llorente also pose threats for opposition, adding nine and seven finishes, respectively. Gameiro’s double against Basel helped pace Sevilla past the Swiss side in the Round of 16.


(Estádio Municipal, at 3:05 p.m., Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3, Watch ESPN)

Shakhtar Donetsk is currently second in the Ukrainian Premier League, having scored an astounding 62 goals in 20 matches.

Eduardo led Shakhtar past Belgian side Anderlecht in the previous round, scoring two goals in the team’s 4-1 aggregate win. Shakhtar features a surplus of talent including Brazil’s Bernard and Serbian defender and captain Darijo Srna.

After failing to score a goal on the road against Fenerbahce, Sporting Braga erupted with four goals en route to the quarterfinals. Koka and Nikola Stojiljković lead for Braga with nine goals each.


  1. After 1-1 in the first round of quarterfinals, UEFA Europa League, Liverpool wil meet Borussia Dortmund on Anfield Stadium. This match is more like a final, and if the winner of this game will win this competition, next year will play directly in the Champions League.

  2. Pulisic on the bench. So if reports are true that Klopp wants to sign him and bring him to Liverpool (don’t do it!!), I hope the kid plays and shows everyone what he can do!


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