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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Stubborn Bate can avoid defeat at crumbling Cologne

Steaua should maintain their perfect start

Bate Borisov boss Aleksandr Yermakovich
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From 6pm Thursday

Turkish powers Istanbul Basaksehir have made a mess of their debut Europa League group campaign, but they can finally get on the board by beating Hoffenheim.

Basaksehir have suffered away defeats in Braga and Hoffenheim in Group C but they are a formidable unit on home soil where they are unbeaten in the Super Lig.

Even though they are bottom of the section, with two home games left Abdullah Avci’s men can still cling to the idea of qualifying and they take on Hoffenheim at a good time.

Hoffenheim's 3-1 victory against the Turks followed two defeats and the German upstarts find themselves in the worst run of form during the Julian Nagelsmann era with no wins in their last five domestic assignments.

Nagelsmann has plenty of absentees and the focus is on sustaining a top-four challenge to get back into the Champions League.

Steaua Bucharest have made the perfect start to their Group G campaign with three straight wins and they should have no difficulty making that four out of four at home to suspect travellers Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

Well beaten 3-1 in Plzen having already lost in Maribor and Ludogorets in Champions League qualifying, the Romanians look a fantastic bet at 5-6.

There is little to like about Cologne this season and there's no obvious reason to think they can chalk up their first league win – that’s Bundesliga or Europa – against Bate Borisov in Group H.

Beaten in Borisov on matchday three, Cologne are now 13 league and European matches without a win this season and have only scored five times.

Bottom of the section and not scoring goals, qualification looks highly unlikely and stubborn Bate, seasoned campaigners in Europe, will be hell-bent on simply avoiding defeat before their crunch showdown against Red Star Belgrade.

Apollon Limassol are another side who can avoid defeat in a game where they are big underdogs against Atalanta in Group E.

The match is being staged in Nicosia but that was where Apollon, who are unbeaten in Cyprus this season, drew with Lyon.

Istanbul Basaksehir
2pts 23-10 Hills
Steaua Bucharest
2pts 17-20 Betfred
Bate or draw double chance
1pt 11-10 general
Apollon or draw double chance
1pt 23-20 bet365, Coral

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Apollon Limassol are another side who can avoid defeat in a game where they are big underdogs against Atalanta in Group E
E.W. Terms
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