– Tomorrow’s Champions League Matches – get €10 no deposit
There are some key midweek matches that have the power to make or break some teams’ season – the Champions League Play-Offs are one of the most high reward set of fixtures in the football calendar and there are some tasty match ups this week.
- Celtic vs Malmo FF – Wednesday 19 August
Celtic seriously underwhelmed in the Champions League Qualifiers last year (they even managed to get knocked out twice – they gained a reprieve after Legia Warsaw were penalised for fielding an ineligible player) and have not much impressed so far this year.
In contrast, Malmo staged a barnstorming comeback against Red Bull Salzburg – after losing the first leg 2-0, the Swedish Champions raced to a 3-0 lead by half time of the second leg and then just shut up shop.
Celtic are very strong favourites for this match at 1.68, which somewhat belies form and recent history in the qualifiers. However they rarely lose at home and Malmo have already demonstrated that they can be wobbly at away.
Verdict: Buy Celtic Over 1.68 as that is far too short for their abilities. The market should correct before kick off.
- Rapid Vienna v Shaktar Donetsk– Wednesday 19 August
At one point it looked as if Shaktar Donetsk were destined to become European royalty with a UEFA Cup win and a march to the quarter finals in 2011 only to run into eventual champions Barcelona. Instead they have become a solid CL side, qualifying twice for the Round of 16. In contrast Rapid Wien last qualified for the group stages 10 seasons ago, when they subsequently lost all their matches.
However both teams go into this tie after providing the best performances in the previous round. Shaktar blunted a Fenerbache side starring former Man United players Robin van Persie and Nani to secure 3-0 victory, while Rapid shocked Europe by dumping out Dutch champions Ajax with a 3-2 win in the Amsterdam Arena after a 2-2 draw in Austria.
Rapid came from behind to secure another 2-2 against Sturm Graz this weekend, while Shaktar lost 2-0 at home to Dnipro. Another draw for Rapid is on the cards.
Verdict: Buy Draw Overs at 3.45 as Shaktar will likely attract more action.
- FC Basel v Maccabi Tel Aviv – Wednesday 19 August
Swiss champions Basel have been an impressive European team of late, reaching the Round of 16 last year after qualifying ahead of Liverpool in the group. This year they easily dispatched Lech Poznan in the qualifiers and have already won 8 competitive matches in a row.
Maccabi played in the first Israeli Super Cup for 26 years this weekend, but lost to Hapoel Kiryat Shmona on penalties. In the qualifiers they made short work of Maltese side Hibernians FC but had to work against Viktoria Plzen, turning around a 2-1 home deficit to score two second half goals in Ukraine to qualify for the play-off round.
Spiffindex Verdict: While Basel may be short at 1.55 they are likely to go even shorter. Buy Basel Under 1.55