St Etienne have named a strong squad for the game as no automatic starters are missing. Striker Beric, winger Hamouma and midfielder Lemoine are out but their absences weaken the bench rather than the starting lineup. They can field a strong side and are expected to do so as they look to seal their place in the knockout phase. They need to win to be sure of landing a place in the knockout stage. A draw would keep them in a commanding position going into the final round of matches but they’ll want to get the job done so will be 100% motivated to claim all 3 points. All four of their matches in the group phase have been extremely close, however, with hardly anything to pick between the sides in this pool. For that reason, another close game is likely here, with St Etienne expecting to have periods in this match where the capable visitors put them under severe pressure. A draw would leave them in a strong position as they’d be 3 points above Mainz with only one match left.
Mainz come into this match after a very important win over Freiburg in the Bundesliga. That stopped a mediocre run of results and should be a confidence-boost. For this match, Serdar, Clemens, Latza and Berggreen remain out but are not key absences. Coach Schmidt is expected to rotate as he has done until now, but that shouldn’t be a worry given the solid alternatives. Mainz will travel to France hoping for a victory. The situation in the standings warrants an attacking approach from them as anything but a win could see them knocked out of the competition. Mainz have played fairly offensive football so far this season, and that shouldn’t change on Thursday night. They’ve had no problems scoring goals until now, and that will keep them confident. They will have a slight underdog role here and that could make them fairly dangerous. They’ve played some good football in most matches this season and will be confident of competing against just about anyone.
Verdict & Prediction
The mood in the camp is excellent for St Etienne. They have acquitted themselves well in the competition, although their 1-0 home defeat to Ligue 1 leaders Nice last weekend may have dented their confidence a little, but I am sure that they will be 100% motivated to win as a victory would seal their place in the knockout phase. Back the home team here!
Prediction: St Etienne +0.00 AH (same as Draw No Bet)
Odds: 1.73 SBOBET
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