Wednesday night brings the second round of Champions League qualifying to its conclusion and we’re hoping to cap it in style with this BTTS treble.
All three matches are quite evenly matched and each club will be eager to take another step closer to the group stage. While results don’t bother us too much, hopefully the six teams will all score.
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Lokomotiv Astana V NK Maribor. 3PM
Slovenian side Maribor won plenty of fans in last year’s group stage, and should fancy their chances of reaching the third round of qualifying after last week’s 1-0 win on home soil. However, the trip to Kazakhstan is never easy, and could make this more difficult than it has to be.
The visitors won’t have it easy but an away goal would put them firmly in the driving seat. Ante Simundza’s side boast some decent attacking players too, including strikers Jean Mendy and Marcos Tavares, and should find the target at some stage.
Astana aren’t the strongest side by any means, but with seen a number of Kazakh teams cause problems on home soil and Stanimir Stoilov’s side can at least hope to find the target at the Astana Arena. It seems unlikely that they’d score any more than two, which is why Maribor should still progress, but it’s still positive for this selection.
This probably won’t be a classic by any means, but odds of 6/5 on BTTS has got to be considered appealing.
BTTS Yes @ 6/5 with Coral
Dundalk V BATE Borisov. 7:45PM
An away goal in Belarus has given Stephen Kenny’s a small chance of progressing to the next round of qualifying, but they face a very difficult task against an away side that has reached the group phase on several occasions.
The Irish Premier Division side are in great scoring form, having last failed to find the target in October 2014, and should fancy their chances against an away side that shipped an alarming number of goals in last year’s group stage. Dundalk might not be at that level, but they have to attack and we think they will score.
Nevertheless, BATE are a good side going forward and Aleksandr Yermakovich’s men will be fancied to win. At the very least, they should become the seventh straight opponent to score against the Irish hosts.
It took just 32 minutes for last week’s match to hit a BTTS winner. Back a repeat outcome here.
BTTS Yes @ 10/11 with Coral
Rudar Pljevlja V Karabakh. 7:45PM
Our final selection comes from the Stadion Pod Golubinjom as Rudar Pljevlja look to cause a major upset against Karabakh. The Montenegrins did extremely well to keep things locked at 0-0 last week, and manager Mirko Maric will be quietly confident heading into this contest.
Rudar are huge underdogs, but home advantage can give them a genuine chance of progressing. At the very least, the hosts will be looking to the likes of Igor Ivanovic and Ivan Knezevic for a goal. The threat of away goals means that they’ve got to attack, which will hopefully lead to goals.
However, Karabakh are a decent outfit for this stage of the competition and the visitors will be expected to make amends for last week’s disappointment. Main striker Reynaldo should be a constant threat and it would be a real shock if Gurban Gurbanov’s men were to fire another blank.
Backing goals in the reversal of a match that ended 0-0 just one week ago might seem madness, but there are reasons to believe this can come in. Both teams will be desperate for goals. Let’s hope they get them.
BTTS Yes @ 13/10 with Coral
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