Team news, stats and how to follow the Europa League and Europa Conference League quarter-final first legs on Thursday night.
European action resumes on Thursday evening for West Ham, Rangers and Leicester City, with the trio bidding for a place in the semi-finals of their respective competitions.
The Hammers’ Europa League meeting with Lyon is a fixture never seen before on the European stage, while Rangers are also venturing into less-familiar territory having reached the quarter-finals of a major European competition for the first time since 2007-08.
Leicester host PSV Eindhoven for a place in the final four of the Europa Conference League, where AS Roma, Marseille and Feyenoord all remain in the hunt.
West Ham will be forced to continue their European tour without forward Manuel Lanzini, who was shown his third yellow card of the campaign in the round-of-16 victory over Sevilla.
Declan Rice is also walking a tightrope and would miss the second leg in France if he was to be booked on Thursday evening. Angelo Ogbonna remains sidelined, but Ben Johnson may be available.
- West Ham and Lyon will face for the first time in Europe. West Ham’s only previous meeting with French opposition in any European competition came in 1999 against Metz, when they jointly won the UEFA Intertoto Cup with Juventus and Montpellier – their scorers were Trevor Sinclair, Frank Lampard and Paulo Wanchope.
- Lyon are unbeaten in six matches against English sides (W4 D2), with two wins each coming against Everton and Manchester City; most recently eliminating City in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2019-20.
- This will be West Ham’s fifth quarter-final tie in European competition, progressing from three of the previous four. Their only elimination did come in their most recent such outing, against Dinamo Tbilisi in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980-81.
- After being eliminated in five consecutive quarter-finals in Europe between 1967-68 and 2005-06, Lyon have since progressed from three of their last four such ties, eliminating Bordeaux in 2009-10, Besiktas in 2016-17, and Manchester City in 2019-20.
- Lyon (+8.5) and West Ham (+8.2) rank first and second for total expected goals differential this season in the UEFA Europa League (16.1 xG and 7.6 xGA for Lyon, 16.2 xG and 8 xGA for West Ham)
How to follow on Sky Sports: Follow West Ham vs Lyon with our dedicated live blog.
It was confirmed this week that Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a thigh injury.
Ianis Hagi and Nnamdi Ofoborh remain absent, while Aaron Ramsey is expected to play a central role in northern Portugal having scored in the Old Firm showdown on Sunday.
Braga in focus
Ricardo Horta is Braga’s main dangerman. The 27-year-old Portuguese striker has scored 18 this season and has netted almost 80 goals in total since joining the club from Malaga in 2016. Iuri Medeiros and Vitor Oliveira also carry a goal threat, with both on target against Benfica last Friday. Most of the squad is made up of Portuguese players.
- Braga and Rangers’ only previous meeting in Europe came at the Last 32 stage of the UEFA Europa League in 2019-20, with Rangers winning home and away. At the time, they were only the second side to beat Braga home and away in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League (also Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015-16).
- Rangers have reached the quarter-final stage or later of a major European competition for the first time since 2007-08, when they finished as runners-up in the UEFA Cup, losing to Zenit in the final. Overall, Rangers have progressed from 6/11 quarter-finals in Europe.
- Braga have been defeated only twice across their last 18 home matches in Europe (W11 D5), although the first of those two losses came against Rangers in February 2020, with Ryan Kent scoring the game’s only goal.
- Rangers have conceded at least one goal in each of their last seven away games in major European competition, their longest such run since a 13-game stretch between 1993 and 1999.
- Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos has been directly involved in 21 goals in 33 UEFA Europa League games (15 goals, 6 assists). Since his competition debut for Rangers in October 2018, only Bruno Fernandes (25) has been involved in more goals.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst on the loss of Alfredo Morelos
“Of course, it is a big blow to us because he is our striker and we now don’t have him any more this season. So, yeah, we are disappointed. But we know what the problem is, how long he’s out, and we have to move on. That’s the only thing we have to do now.”
How to follow on Sky Sports: Follow Braga vs Rangers with our dedicated live blog.
Barca’s Dani Alves continues to be absent for European matches having not been registered for the competition, while Sergino Dest may not be fit to deputise following a hamstring complaint, which could force Ronald Araujo out wide.
Luuk de Jong is a doubt having tested positive for Covid late last week. Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti remain sidelined.
- This will be the first meeting between these sides in Europe. Eintracht Frankfurt are unbeaten in eight games against Spanish opponents in Europe (W5 D3), never losing at home to such opposition (W2 D2).
- Barcelona have conceded 14 goals across their last three matches against German opponents in Europe, although all three matches came against Bayern Munich. Excluding games against Bayern, they are unbeaten in 21 matches against German teams (W17 D4) since losing away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in September 2001.
- Eintracht Frankfurt have never lost at home in major European competition in the quarter-finals and beyond (P16 W12 D4 L0) – this is the most such games any side has ever played in major European competition without being defeated.
- Barcelona have been defeated only three times across their last 20 matches in the UEFA Cup/Europa League (W11 D6), although all three defeats have come in away matches (vs Celta de Vigo in March 2001, Liverpool in April 2001, and Celtic in March 2004).
- Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 24 goals in the UEFA Europa League, with none of them coming from the penalty spot. The only player with more non-penalty goals in the competition is Radamel Falcao (27).
RB Leipzig and Atalanta, both relatively new to the European scene, will be looking to edge a little closer to their first piece of major continental silverware on Thursday evening. Both sides dropped down to the Europa League following a disappointing Champions League group-stage campaign.
Wing-back Benjamin Henrichs has returned for in-form Leipzig after a short illness, while Tyler Adams is also in contention. Danish forward Yussuf Poulsen is sidelined with a groin injury, joining midfielder Amadou Haidara in the treatment room.
Atalanta are missing captain Rafael Toloi but may be boosted by the return of striker Duvan Zapata – most likely from the bench.
- RB Leipzig and Atalanta have never previously met in Europe. Leipzig’s only European encounter with Italian opposition to date saw them eliminate Napoli in the Last 32 of this competition back in 2017-18.
- All six of Atalanta’s previous matches against German teams have come in the knockout stages of European competitions – they eliminated Cologne in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup in 1990-91, were eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the Last 32 of the UEFA Europa League in 2017-18, and eliminated Bayer Leverkusen in the previous round of this competition last time out.
- RB Leipzig have scored multiple goals in each of their last six matches in European competition, their longest ever such run – they are averaging 2.7 goals per game over this period (16 goals in 6 matches).
- Atalanta have won each of their last four matches in Europe – should they win this match, it will be their longest ever winning run in European competition.
- RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku has been involved in more goals (9 – 8 goals and 1 assist) than he has played games (8) in European competition this season.
Europa League quarter-final draw
RB Leipzig vs Atalanta
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Barcelona
West Ham vs Lyon
Braga vs Rangers
Europa League semi-final draw
RB Leipzig or Atalanta vs Braga or Rangers
West Ham or Lyon vs Eintracht Frankfurt or Barcelona
Europa Conference League:
Nampalys Mendy is ineligible for Europa Conference League competition, meaning Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall may be asked to drop deeper to partner Youri Tielemans in the Leicester midfield.
Patson Daka, who started from the bench in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the weekend, could be thrust into attack with Kelechi Iheanacho.
How to follow on Sky Sports: Follow Leicester vs PSV with our dedicated live blog.
Europa Conference League quarter-final draw
Bodo/Glimt vs AS Roma
Feyenoord vs Slavia Prague
Marseille vs PAOK
Leicester vs PSV Eindhoven
Europa Conference League semi-final draw
Leicester or PSV Eindhoven vs Bodo/Glimt or Roma
Feyenoord or Slavia Prague vs Marseille or PAOK