The Europa League's group stage has reached the third matchday, and Kevin Hatchard's
Unbeatable Wolves can pick up a victory
Gent v Wolfsburg Thursday 24 October, 17:55 Live on BT Sport Extra
After flirting heavily with relegation in successive seasons, things are looking up for Wolfsburg. Under the experienced guidance of coach Bruno Labaddia, die Wolfe finished in the top six last term, and under his replacement Oliver Glasner, they are yet to lose a single game. In 20 matches across friendlies, Bundesliga games, the DFB Cup's first round and the group stage of the Europa League, they haven't lost once.
Wolfsburg were particularly impressive in the weekend's 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig. They didn't panic after going behind, and carved out an excellent equaliser in a game they probably deserved to win. The defence is playing incredibly well, and in attack, big Dutch striker Wout Weghorst is a constant threat. In the UEL, Wolfsburg have taken four points from two games.
Gent have made a strong start to the Belgian top-flight season, taking 20 points from ten games, but they were recently smacked 4-0 at Club Brugge. In this competition, they edged out Saint Etienne 3-2 and drew 1-1 at Oleksandria.
Gent have won their last seven home games in all competitions, but that demolition by Club Brugge suggests they have their limits, and they are facing an outstanding Wolfsburg team in great form. I'll tentatively back Wolfsburg by using the Draw No Bet market.
Eagles to fly high again
Eintracht Frankfurt v Standard Liege Thursday 24 October, 20:00 Live on BT Sport Extra
There's an argument to say they should start calling Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter "the striker whisperer." Having made Sebastien Haller, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic pretty unstoppable as an attacking triumvirate, the Austrian coach then had to deal with losing all three of them in the summer transfer window.
Transfer chief Fredi Bobic then added Dutch veteran Bas Dost and Portuguese striker Andre Silva to the attacking options, and along with Goncalo Paciencia, Frankfurt have been blessed with another terrific trio. The three forwards have now scored 11 goals between them in the Bundesliga, and in Friday's excellent 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen, Paciencia scored twice, while Dost added a typical poacher's goal.
Frankfurt have only lost once at home this season, and they should have too much quality for Standard Liege to cope with. The Belgian side lost 4-0 at Arsenal on Matchday Two, and last season they took just a point from their three group-stage away games, and they were shredded 5-1 at Sevilla. While they are performing well domestically, this could be a long night against one of Germany's best sides.
I'll back Eintracht -1.0 on the Asian Handicap here at 1.80.
Wolves to come up short against strange backdrop
with four more selections.
Slovan Bratislava v Wolves Thursday 24 October, 17:55 Live on BT Sport
Football throws up some odd scenarios, but Wolves won't have played in an atmosphere quite like the one they'll face in Bratislava on Thursday evening. Slovan have been "punished" by the banning of adult supporters because of racist chanting, but children will be allowed in, and the match will therefore be a sell-out and will provide Slovan with their biggest crowd of the season.
Wolves have made a mixed start to the UEL campaign. They lost at home to Braga, but then snatched an impressive 1-0 win at Besiktas. On Thursday night they'll face a Slovan team that impressively knocked out Greek champions PAOK in the qualifiers, beat Besiktas 4-2 and drew 2-2 at Braga having twice come from behind.
Slovan haven't lost a competitive home match since April 2018, and on that basis alone I'm surprised to see Wolves trading as short as 1.77 to win this. Yes, they won at Manchester City recently, but they have found consistency hard to come by, and this is a tough and unusual test.
I'll lay Wolves here.
Van Bommel's boys to take a big step
PSV v LASK Linz Thursday 24 October, 20:00 Live on BT Sport Extra
While PSV suffered a blow to their Eredivisie title hopes at the weekend, losing 3-0 at Utrecht to lose ground on the leaders Ajax, their form in the Europa League is strong. They edged out Sporting 3-2, and then won 4-1 in Norway against Rosenborg. At home, Mark van Bommel's team is a real handful for the opposition. They have won seven of their last nine home matches, and one of the other two games in that sequence was a 1-1 draw with Ajax. They haven't lost a competitive home match since Dec 2018, when Barcelona came away with a 2-1 win.
LASK lost influential coach Oliver Glasner to Wolfsburg in the summer, and although they are hanging in there in the Austrian title race, they have stuttered in the UEL. On Matchday Two, they lost 2-1 at a Sporting CP side that's desperately short of form, and I think they'll struggle here too.
Back the hosts -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.05].