FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are not exactly a household name in Europe, although they did finish fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, losing just five of their 30 matches to demonstrate that they are quite a force domestically.
Juande Ramos is manager of the team and he knows exactly what is required to win the Europa League, having steered Sevilla to success in this competition in 2006 and 2007. Even so, the visitors can be backed at 9/2 (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) to win at Craven Cottage on Thursday against a Fulham side that were toothless on Saturday.
Many people expect the west London side to be very attacking under Martin Jol, although it appears the Dutchman is intent on making sure things are kept tight, with the weekend goalless draw against Aston Villa hinting that the Cottagers might benefit from more firepower.
Even so, Fulham have sailed through three rounds to reach the play-off stage and can be backed at 4/6 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) to claim a first leg victory ahead of next week’s trip to the Dnipro Arena, with Bobby Zamora once again expected to lead the line. Coral offer 5/1 that he opens the scoring.
The key focus for Jol’s men is to make sure they don’t concede an away goal against a side that have started the Ukraine Premier League with lots of goals (11 in 6 games), with former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic available at 10/1 to open the scoring with bet365.