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UEFA Europa League

Preview: UEFA Europa League Return Leg Fixtures

Preview: UEFA Europa League Return Leg Fixtures

UEFA Europa League
Publish on 02/21 at 20:30 - E. RAZO


This week marks the return of the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs, with the vital second leg fixtures taking place. Thursday will see several Ligue 1 teams in action, so here's a look ahead at what's in store for these squads.

RC Lens (0)-(0) SC Freiburg

Lens and Freiburg ended their match in a goalless draw at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis last week. Franck Haise and his team will now need to go to Germany and secure a win to advance. Lens must also have a better performance offensively than they did in the first leg. Despite having 12 total shots, Les Sang et Or had zero shots on target.

Over the weekend, Lens had a 1-1 draw against Stade de Reims, while SC Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt played to a 3-3 draw. There will be no draws on Thursday, so expect a thrilling matchup between the two squads.

AC Milan (3)-(0) Stade Rennais

Rennes faces the toughest challenge among all the Ligue 1 teams striving to make it to the Round of 16. Julien Stéphan and his team must overcome a three-goal deficit against a good AC Milan team, but on the positive side, they'll have the home crowd behind them for 90 minutes.

Les Rouge et Noirs are coming off a 3-1 win over Clermont Foot to build positive momentum as they aim for a comeback. On the other hand, Milan fell 4-2 to Monza this past weekend.

Benfica (2)-(1) Toulouse

The first leg appeared to be heading toward a 1-1 draw, but a late penalty kick goal from former Paris Saint-Germain player Ángel Di María gave Benfica the one-goal edge. Despite the heartbreaking finish, Toulouse heads home with their supporters eager to push them to overcome the deficit in these final 90 minutes.

On Sunday, Toulouse began building steam toward a comeback after securing a 2-1 win over Monaco, while Benfica also picked up a 6-1 victory over Vizela.

Olympique de Marseille (2)-(2) FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Marseille will have a new manager when they take the pitch, as Jean-Louis Gasset took over the position from Gennaro Gattuso. The 70-year-old's first task will be getting OM through to the Round of 16 over Shakhtar after the two squads played to a draw last week, so a win for either side on Thursday sees them advancing.

OM is coming off a 1-0 loss to Stade Brestois last Sunday, so the team is looking for a bounce-back win as they aim to start Gasset's tenure on a positive note.

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