Euro hopefuls in more qualifying action

Champions League reaction

After Tuesday’s seven Champions League second round qualifiers, there’s five more on Wednesday, including several intriguing clashes involving the likes of Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce and Olympiacos.

Tuesday’s action was headlined by Northern Irish champions Linfield managing an impressive 1-0 home win over Bodo/Glimt, who beat Celtic in the Europa Conference League in February, while there were also first-leg wins for Qarabag over FC Zurich, Dudelange over Pjunik and Zalgiris over Malmo.

Irish side Shamrock Rovers went down to a disappointing 3-0 defeat away at Ludogorets, while Midtjylland and AEK Larnaca drew 1-1 and Dinamo Zagreb and Shkupi’s first-leg tie also ended all square at 2-2.

Greek champions Olympiacos take on Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday in one of the stand-out ties. Maccabi are 9/5 to win, the draw is 21/10 and Olympiacos are 8/5.

Olympiacos have made the Champions League group stage in three of the last five years, and will look to kick-off this year’s European campaign with an away win in Israel against a club that have only made it to the group stage twice in their history and were dumped out in the first qualifying round by Kazakhstan side Kairat 12 months ago.

Champions League Betting Odds

Maccabi’s form in the build-up to this tie will give the Greek giants hope of securing a first-leg advantage as the hosts have recently lost two friendlies, both by 1-0, to Mechelen and Vitesse, and they also lost the Israeli Super Cup final on penalties to Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Saturday.

Turkish giants Fenerbahce, who finished second in their domestic Super Lig last season, take on Ukrainian side Dinamo Kyiv, with this first-leg tie being played in Lodz in Poland due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine (Dynamo Kyiv 6/4, draw 11/5, Fenerbahce 7/4 – Match Betting).

Fener may well fancy their chances in this clash as, under new coach Jorge Jesus, they have won five friendlies on the trot, culminating with a comfortable 2-0 success over Championship side Hull City at the weekend.

Hungarian champions Ferencvaros host Slovakians Slovan Bratislava (Ferencvaros 1/2, draw 3/1, Slovan 6/1 – Match Betting) with both of these clubs hoping to advance in the competition and eventually make a rare group stage appearance.

With a third qualifying round and play-off round still to navigate, though, there is plenty of work for teams to do as Ferencvaros aim for the group stage for only the third time ever, whole Slovan have never got that far in the continent’s premier club competition.

Ferencvaros beat Kazakhstan side FC Tobol 5-1 on aggregate in the previous qualifying round, while Slovan edged out Georgian champions Dinamo Batumi 2-1 over two games.

The other two games on Wednesday are HJK Helsinki hosting Vikoria Plzen and Maribor at home to Sheriff Tiraspol.

Football Betting Odds

Author: Lucas Carlson