Europa League Fixtures 2014: Form Guide, Key Stats, TV and Live Stream Info

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Europa League Fixtures 2014: Form Guide, Key Stats, TV and Live Stream Info
Massimo Pinca

The 2013-14 Europa League quarter-finals kick off on Thursday, with eight teams left standing in Europe's second-tier club competition.

And while the UEFA Champions League might steal much of the spotlight, the Europa League Round of 16 showed everyone there is plenty of quality football being played in this tournament.

Valencia, Benfica and Lyon dominated their way into this stage of the tournament, while Juventus, Porto and Basel are perennial contenders on the European stage.

Read on for full TV and live stream info, as well as a breakdown of each team going into the quarter-finals and the key statistics that provide a glimpse of what might decide each tie.

All statistics used are courtesy of WhoScored.com, unless stated otherwise. Kick-off time for every game is 8.05 p.m. BST/3:05 p.m. ET.

 

AZ Alkmaar v Benfica

Paulo Duarte

TV and live stream: BT Sport 2/Fox Sports 2, BT Sport app and online player

Key stat: Total goals in Round of 16

It might sound like a very old cliche, but the game of football is quite simple: The team that scores most goals wins.

Benfica scored three times against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and added two more at home, indicative of a very explosive attacking unit that doesn't require a lot of openings in order to convert chances (33 percent conversion rate in the first leg).

AZ meanwhile, only scored once in two games against Anzhi Makhachkala. And while one goal can be enough to secure the win, it probably won't be against a team as adept at scoring as Benfica.

The Portuguese haven't lost a game since November and haven't been held scoreless in a single game in 2014. AZ meanwhile are coming off a loss to Ajax followed by a draw against Cambuur, and the race for the Dutch Eredivisie title is well and truly over for the club.

 

Olympique Lyon v Juventus

Paulo Duarte

TV and live stream: ITV 4/Fox Sports 1, ITV Player

Key stat: Lyon have lost three of their last four matches

Juventus may be the favourites for the Europa League title by default, courtesy of the club's name and the fact the final will be played at the Juventus Arena, but the Bianconeri hardly have an impressive track record on the European stage in recent years.

The win over rivals Fiorentina in the round of 16 also didn't inspire a lot of confidence, and last weekend's loss to Napoli was one of the worst games the team has played all season. Prior to that match, Juve had only suffered a single defeat in all of Serie A this season, but the team simply hasn't played up to standards in recent weeks.

Juventus still hold a comfortable lead in Serie A though, and that is more than can be said for Lyon. The hosts currently find themselves in fifth place in the Ligue 1 table and wouldn't even qualify for next year's Europa League as it stands.

The results simply haven't gone the club's way in recent weeks, and a date with a wounded Juventus squad following the loss to Napoli is the last thing Lyon needed.

If the Italians are on their game and decide to take this competition seriously, this tie could get out of hand in a hurry. Then again, it feels like we say this every week.

 

Basel v Valencia

Alberto Saiz

TV and live stream: BT Sport 1, BT Sport app and online player

Key stat: Basel average 16 interceptions per game

FC Basel are an odd team to scout. There are very few superstars in the squad, but in every game another player seems to rise above himself and play at an extraordinary level. The defence doesn't average a particularly high number of tackles, but tons of athleticism make the counter attack a deadly weapon.

Valencia are a good team in their own right, but one thing the Spanish squad is lacking is athleticism. And with reports that more than half of the available Swiss defenders could miss out on this game (per WhoScored), chances are the hosts will dig in and look to strike on the counter.

As reported by BeIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri, Basel will be forced to play this game without the fans shouting the team on:

Basel haven't been particularly threatened in recent weeks, as the Swiss Super League is essentially a two-horse race between Basel and Grasshoppers Zurich. Valencia on the other hand are still battling for the Europa League spots in La Liga and have had a difficult few weeks, culminating in a loss to Getafe.

With the injury concerns and the lack of support from the home fans, Valencia should be favoured going into this tie.

 

FC Porto v Sevilla

EuroFootball/Getty Images

TV and live stream: Setanta Sports Ireland/DirecTV, Setanta on Web

Key stat: Sevilla only concede nine shots per game

For the first time in seemingly ages, Porto are reeling in the Portuguese league. With two losses in their last three league games, the squad is officially out of the title race and even unlikely to qualify for next year's Champions League.

You would be forgiven for assuming Porto were the favourites for this year's tournament based on name recognition, but the team simply hasn't performed the way we're used to this season. Jackson Martinez has only managed to score 19 total goals so far, with just a single goal coming in the Europa League.

Sevilla needed a miracle win over rivals Real Betis to qualify for the quarter-finals and an upset win over Real Madrid had the team flying high, but a disappointing league loss at the hands of Celta Vigo brought them back down to Earth in a flash.

The Spaniards have a talented squad, but if Porto play up to their standards, this match should be a comfortable win for the hosts. The question is whether Porto will be able to do so, and if not, Ivan Rakitic and company have shown they have the quality to advance to the semi-finals.

 

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