Crunch time for Europa League hopefuls

FC Salzburg, ACF Fiorentina and Valencia CF are well placed to progress to the round of 16, but there are a host of ties delicately poised ahead of Thursday's second legs.

Salzburg are on course for the round of 16
Salzburg are on course for the round of 16 ©Getty Images

The round of 16 is within touching distance for a number of UEFA Europa League hopefuls ahead of Thursday's round of 32 second legs, while a host of ties are in the balance.

FC Salzburg grabbed the headlines on matchday seven with a 3-0 win at AFC Ajax, and the Austrian league leaders will be confident of finishing the tie off on home soil come Thursday. However, if any side has enough European pedigree to overcome such a deficit it is the three-time European champions Ajax.

Valencia CF will also expect to be among the sides that progress after a 2-0 away-leg win against FC Dynamo Kyiv, while ACF Fiorentina also posted victory on foreign soil, 3-1 at Esbjerg fB, to set themselves on course for the next round. SL Benfica and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad both bring 1-0 leads back home, while final hosts Juventus have a two-goal cushion to defend in Turkey, with Trabzonspor AŞ eager to get back into contention.

FC Basel 1893 knocked Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC out in UEFA Champions League qualifying this term, but have work to do if they are to repeat the trick, with their tie locked at 0-0 as the sides head to Switzerland. Olympique Lyonnais and KRC Genk both earned goalless draws in the first leg at FC Chornomorets Odesa and FC Anji Makhachkala respectively, and will be hopeful of doing the business on home turf, while Eintracht Frankfurt will be full of confidence when they run out in Germany after coming from two down to snatch two away goals at highly-fancied FC Porto.

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk will hope to complete a shock result in London, Juande Ramos taking a 1-0 lead to the home of his former employers, Tottenham Hotspur FC, while AZ Alkmaar are in control of their tie, holding a similar lead against FC Slovan Liberec as the tie concludes in the Netherlands.