The Champions League 2018-19 final was just played between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on June 1. Now, the Champions League 2019-20 qualifying round is set to kick off this week.
Tuesday night, July 9th will see six matches with 12 teams hoping to make their way into the Champions League proper. They have a long way to go and must first win on Tuesday night to reach the group stage in September.
FC Astana vs. CFR Cluj
Kazakhstan’s Astana take on Romania’s Cluj in the first leg of their qualifying round. Cluj were knocked out of the Champions League in the second qualifying time last term. Astana went on further last term by making it to the third qualifying round.
Playing at home will help Astana as they claim a victory in the first leg against Cluj.
FK Sarajevo vs. Celtic
Scotland’s Celtic are desperate to make the Champions League proper. The Scottish champions made it to the third qualifying round last season before being eliminated.
Despite their dominance of Scottish football, they have struggled to make their mark on the Champions League in recent years.
Celtic should be the better team over two legs against FK Sarajevo. However, the first leg in Bosnia could be tricky. Celtic should overcome a hostile environment and pick up a first leg win.
Dudelange vs. Valletta
Two minnows of European football clash in Luxembourg as Dudelange host Valletta. Dudelange were knocked out at this stage last season. Playing against a team such as Malta’s Valletta, they will fancy their chances of progression.
Valletta were also knocked out at this stage last season. It is difficult to pick a winner when teams such as these compete in the Champions League qualifying round. As an alternative to a money line bet, a wager on over 1.5 goals may be better when a lack of information on poor quality teams is available.
Result: Over 1.5 goals
HJK vs. Torshavn
Finland’s HJK will play the Faroe Island’s Torshavn in Helsinki. Torshavn are a part-time team of players while HJK are full-time professionals.
It will be easy to see a difference in quality on the pitch on Tuesday night in Helsinki. HJK are in the middle of their Finnish league season and won on Thursday night against city rivals HIFK to prepare.
HJK are a far more experienced team and play in a more competitive league. They should win at home.
Suduva vs. Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade are the class of Serbia and showcased their class in Champions League qualifying last season. Red Star Belgrade made it all the way to the group stage where they played Liverpool, Napoli, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Red Star Belgrade famously defeat Liverpool in Serbia last season in the tournament. Liverpool went on to win the Champions League.
The Serbians should have little difficulty getting past Lithuania’s Suduva although they will be excited to show what they can do in the tournament early on. Suduva will fade after a bright start.
Winner: Red Star Belgrade
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