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Europa League Matchday 3 preview: Group G-L

The third round of Europa League group stage matches takes place on Thursday with all 48 teams in action. We continue our preview for Matchday 3 by looking at Group G through L.

Group G: Ajax 6p (Netherlands), Celta Vigo 4p (Spain), Standard Liege 1p (Belgium),  Panathinaikos 0p (Greece).

Ajax stayed top of the group with a 1-0 win over Standard Liege on Matchday 2, as Kasper Dolberg scored the lone goal of the game. The young Danish striker has had a good start in his first season with the Dutch side, scoring six goals in 15 appearances in all competitions. Ajax will travel to Spain to take on Celta Vigo, who picked up a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos in their second game.

Panathinaikos will try to get their first points of the tournament when they travel to Liege and the Stade Maurice Dufrasne to take on Standard. The Greeks are coming off a 2-1 loss to Xanthi, while Standard played a 3-3 draw against Kortrijk in league play.

Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk 6p (Ukraine), Gent 4p (Belgium), Braga 1p (Portugal),  Konyaspor 0p (Turkey).

Shakhtar Donetsk picked up a 2-0 win at home against Braga in the last game after goals by Taras Stepanenko and Viktor Kovalenko. The Ukrainians sits at the top of the domestic league and is coming off a 1-1 draw against Olimpik Donetsk over the weekend. They will host second-placed Gent on Thursday at the Arena Lviv. Gent took a 2-0 win over Konyaspor on Matchday 2, with Kenny Saief and Renato Neto finding the back of the net.

Braga will travel to Turkey to take on Konyaspor. The Turks are coming off a 1-1 draw against league leaders Basaksehir over the weekend, and currently sits in eighth place in the Super Lig table. Braga picked up a 3-1 win over Oliveirense.

Group I: Krasnodar 6p (Russia), Schalke 04 6p (Germany),  Red Bull Salzburg 0p (Austria),  Nice 0p (France).

Krasnodar went top of the group after beating Nice 5-2 at home on Matchday 2. They will now host second-place Schalke, and a win over the Germans would more or less put the Russian side into the knockout stages. Schalke took a 3-1 win over Red Bull Salzburg in the last match, and the same thing applies to them, a win and they have a foot and half in the knockout stages.

Nice, who sits at the top of Ligue 1, will travel to Austria to take on Salzburg. They are coming off a 2-0 win over Lyon in league play, while Salzburg were held to a 2-2 draw by Wolfsberger.

Group J: Fiorentina 4p (Italy), PAOK 4p (Greece), Slovan Liberec 1p (Czech Republic), Qarabag 1p (Azerbaijan).

Fiorentina jumped to the top of Group J after beating Qarabag 5-1 at home. Mauro Zarate and Khouma Babacar each scored twice in the win. The Italians will head to the Czech Republic to take on Slovan Liberec, who suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to PAOK on Matchday 2.

Stefanos Athanasiadis scored both goals for PAOK in the win over Liberec, and the Greeks will now go up against Qarabag at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium in Azerbaijan. The home side is coming off a 3-0 win over FK Sumgayit, and are yet to lose in league play this season.

Group K: Southampton 4p (England), Hapoel Be’er Sheva 4p (Israel), Sparta Prague 3p (Czech Republic), Internazionale 0p (Italy).

Southampton kept a hold of the top spot in the group with a scoreless draw on the road to Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The Saints will now travel to Milan to take on bottom of the group Inter. The Italians suffered a 3-1 loss on the road to Sparta Prague on Matchday 2, and their form has been inconsistent to start the season. They are coming off a 2-1 loss to Cagliari in Serie A over the weekend.

Hapoel took a 2-0 win over Inter in the opening group stage game, and they will welcome Sparta to the Toto Turner Stadium where they picked up a 5-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva over the weekend.

Group L: Villarreal 4p (Spain), FC Zurich 3p (Switzerland), Osmanlispor 3p (Turkey), Steaua Bucharest 1p (Romania).

After beating Steaua Bucharest in the opener, Osmanlispor suffered a 2-1 defeat on the road to FC Zurich. The Turks will now go up against leaders Villarreal at home. The Spaniards only got a 1-1 draw on the road against Steaua, but will be full of confidence after beating Celta Vigo 5-0 in the league over the weekend.

Zurich travels to Romania to take on Steaua, and the Swiss sits at the top of the domestic league after 11 matches, and have yet to lose a game. They are coming off a 1-1 draw to FC Le Mont Ls.

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