Anderlecht 1.45, the draw 4.10, AEL 7.00
A 2-1 win in Limassol last week means that the Cypriot champions are on the verge of their first ever Champions League group stage. Goals from Dosa Junior and Rui Miguel give AEL the advantage going into this second leg, but the bookmakers are still not convinced that they can seal the deal.
It’s easy to see why Anderlecht are made favourites, having won their last five European fixtures at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. But if we delve a little deeper then I think we have good reason to take a chance on the relatively inexperienced Cypriots: Anderlecht have not overturned a first-leg deficit in continental competition since the 2004/05 season, losing seven successive knockout ties after defeat in the first leg.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 2.35, the draw 3.20, BATE Borisov 3.00
Eight-time Belarusian champions BATE Borisov showed their pedigree with a comfortable 2-0 win in Minsk last week. Two goals from Vitali Rodionov put Viktor Goncharenko’s side in complete control of the tie and they are now heavy odds-on favourites to go through to the Champions League group stages for a third time.
At odds of 1.10, the bookmakers clearly see BATE’s qualification as a foregone conclusion. But with the visitors made the outsiders in the Match Odds betting there is still plenty of reason for punters to get involved.
The Belarusians go into this game unbeaten in their last 15 qualifying matches in both the Champions League and Europa League and have kept clean sheets in both their away games in this year’s competition to this point. Given that victory is not a necessity it makes sense to keep the draw on side. Back BATE in the Draw No Bet market at odds of 2.10.
Maribor 2.65, the draw 3.35, Dinamo Zagreb 2.55
Dinamo Zagreb’s 2-1 win in Croatia last week means that NK Maribor are up against it. Although a one-goal deficit is not the most imposing of deficits, the Slovenians have not recovered from a first-leg loss in European competition since 1995.
Zagreb’s captain Milan Badelj was the star of the show in the first-leg, scoring an own goal then a goal at the right end to give his team victory. This will be his last appearance for the club he joined as a 17-year-old and I fancy him to sign off with a win. Back Zagreb at odds of 2.55.
Panathinaikos 2.60, the draw 3.30, Malaga 2.60
Despite the off-field unrest at the club throughout the summer, Malaga have begun this season in a positive fashion. A 2-0 win on their Champions League debut last midweek was the meat in the sandwich of four La Liga points from their opening two games.
The Greeks will take confidence from the fact that they have twice overturned two-goal deficits in Champions League qualification in the past decade, but their poor record against Spanish opposition (three wins from 24 matches), and the quality of opposition, suggests this maybe a step too far. Back the draw at odds of 3.30.
Udinese 2.00, the draw 3.25, Braga 3.80
Udinese are the only home side in Champions League action this Tuesday evening that do not have a deficit to overturn. In fact, the tie could have been as good as over had Ismaily’s stunning equaliser not revived Braga’s hopes midway through the second half of the first leg.
The Italian side are unbeaten in their last five European home games and will draw further encouragement from previous triumphs over Braga’s current boss Jose Peseiro. Antonio di Natale was in the side that beat Peseiro’s Sporting team in qualification for the 2005/06 Champions League and can repeat that success at the Stadio Friuli this Tuesday at odds of 2.00.