EL: Sparta Prague – Brondby

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09.12. - 18:45 CET

Sparta are finished in the Europa League, having deprived themselves of the opportunity to gain more points with their mistakes, especially in the duels at home against Lyon and in Glasgow against Rangers. In any case, there is a lot to play for in the last match of the group, if Sparta wins or draws, they will move at least to the Conference League. However, coach Vrba's squad is far from being in an optimal state, the team's performance in recent weeks is not great, the only player who confirms the form is substitute Pulkrab, and that is not enough. Replacement at goalkeeper doesn't solve much, Krejci at stopper takes away the strength of the central formation, especially in the offensive, where he had excellent additions from the second wave. Moreover, Sparta is plagued by the big game syndrome, if they face a stronger opponent (Slovácko, Plzeň, Rangers) they usually burn out. Sparta did manage to win the derby against Slavia Prague, but it was a bunch of luck (early sending off, lucky goal). The team is noticeably missing Pesek, a key player for the offense, while at the back it's the absent Čelůstka.

Bröndby lost 0:2 to Midtjylland in the Danish Cup at the weekend, but overall the team has picked up since mid-October, losing only twice (Lyon and Midtjylland). They are thus in better form than when these two teams met in their first match on Danish soil (0:0). Bröndby will be in a good position in terms of strength, which Sparta is not doing well, and the visitors have nothing to lose and must play to win. Home team, on the other hand, is under pressure to get a result, in which case they will make some big individual mistakes.

My prediction: Double Chance: Draw or Brondby @ 2.0 (bet365)
 
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After 3 defeats in a row in the Europa League, Sparta unfortunately no longer have a chance to qualify for the Europa League. They are 3rd in the table with 4 points and the 2nd spot is held by Scottish side Glasgow Rangers with 7 points. Sparta can catch them on points if they win and Rangers lose in Lyon, but the mutual balance is on Glasgow Rangers side. They won 2-0 at home against Sparta, while Sparta only won 1-0 against them before that.

Of the three defeats, the most regrettable is probably the one at home against Lyon, when Sparta had a great start, leading 2:0, but after a fierce shootout in the end they lost 3:4 to a stronger and more experienced opponent.

Of course, there is no "if" and Sparta will play their last game in the EL group against the last Danish team Brondby. It is the only one in the group without a win so far with only 2 points for 2 draws.

I will trust Sparta here. They only need a point to keep the 3rd place, but I am convinced that Sparta will not leave anything to coincidence and will beat the weakest team at home and say goodbye to the Europa League with honor, thus slipping from the 3rd place to at least 1/16 finals of the Conference League.

Sparta is still playing good football, even though they have had 3 defeats in a row in Europa League. After that unfortunate home defeat to Lyon, they then lost in the return leg in Lyon and then in the last game in Glasgow they definitely lost the chance of promotion. But Sparta rarely lose at home and if they don't underestimate the match unnecessarily then they should be enough to beat the 3rd team of the Danish league at home.

Danish Brondby, as I already wrote, didn't win once in the EL, they got 2 points only for home draws with Sparta and Rangers. Last time they lost 0:2 at home to Midtjylland in the cup, which doesn't help their mood either.

For Brondby, even a point at Sparta would normally be quite an achievement, but in this situation a point doesn't solve anything. If the Danes want to advance to the Conference playoffs, they have to win at Sparta. That means only one thing for them, to keep trying to win, even in the event of a tie. And that can play into the hands of Sparta, who can punish the opponent's mistakes in open defense.

Perhaps Sparta has shaken off the unfortunate period when they won only once at home against Teplice out of 5 consecutive matches and when they were beaten 0:4 at Slovácko. In Sparta's defence, it must also be said that 4 of those 5 games were away. Sparta has won twice in a row in the league, when both matches ended 2:1 - with Liberec at home and away in Karviná.

I am convinced that the mini-crisis is over and that Sparta will say goodbye to the Europa League with a victory.

My bet:
Sparta Prague @ 1.72 (bet365)
 

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