While British involvement in the Champions League is all but over after Manchester United’s defeat by Real Madrid, three teams – Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United – are still flying the flag in the last 16 of the Europa League.
Barring a miraculous Arsenal recovery from 3-1 down against Bayern Munich in next week’s second leg at the Allianz Arena, there will be no English teams in the quarter-finals of Europe’s flagship club competition for the first time since 1996.
However, the picture in the Europa League is far rosier, even if Liverpool were unable to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Zenit and advance with their three Premier League rivals along the road to May’s final in Amsterdam.
Chelsea look best placed of the trio to reach the quarter-finals after being drawn to face Steaua Bucharest, with a long first-leg trip east to the Romanian capital in store for the Blues on Thursday evening.
Tottenham were handed a glamour tie against Inter Milan, which will rekindle memories of Gareth Bale tormenting Maicon and grabbing a stunning hat-trick in a 4-3 Champions League defeat for Spurs at the San Siro in 2010.
And with the Welshman in such incredible form at present – he has scored nine goals in his past seven games – Andre Villas-Boas’ men will be optimistic about their chances of building a first-leg lead at White Hart Lane.
With Spurs pegged as strong 18/25 favourites to see off the Nerazzurri and Chelsea at 91/100 to record an away triumph over Steaua, a Thursday night double on the bitter London rivals pays out at a decent-looking 23/10.
However, existing bwin punters – and any new ones using their free £20 bet after registering – are in for a Europa League treat because we’ve decided to enhance the price on that double to a more impressive 13/5, which can be taken by clicking either here or on the ‘Add to Betslip’ button below.
Meanwhile, Newcastle face an intriguing tussle with big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala and the bwin bookies are not too confident about the Magpies’ chances of claiming a first-leg victory in Russia.
Guus Hiddink’s men have been installed as 67/100 favourites, with the draw at 13/5 and Newcastle way out at 17/4.
And with their Premier League safety far from assured, it remains to be seen whether Toon boss Alan Pardew will play his strongest possible team or conserve his players for Sunday’s key clash with Stoke City at St James’ Park.
Check back in at news.bwin.com/en/ tomorrow for full previews of the Europa League clashes…