Likes of PSV, Benfica and Red Star Belgrade will all be in action this Tuesday (21 August)
It is the biggest club competition in the world, and next Tuesday will see the first games of the final qualifying round for the UEFA champions League take place. Three games are set for Tuesday evening with a further three ties scheduled for the following day.
First things first
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First up, champions from Belarus take on Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. PSV were crowned Eredivisie champions last season, finishing four points ahead of Ajax, and must now negotiate what will be a tricky tie.
But despite playing away from home in this first leg, it is the Dutch club who come into the tie as the clear favourites. You can back PSV to win and take an advantage into the return encounter at just 1.85, while BATE are out at 4.00, according to Oddsshark.
BATE drew their last continental tie on home soil with Qarabag, but having won 1-0 away in the first leg saw them through to this stage of the competition. A draw in this match is priced at 3.60, while you can back a 1-1 draw at 7.00.
Benfica to meet PAOK
Last season’s Portuguese runners up meet last season’s Greek runners up as Benfica host PAOK Salonika. The Portuguese club negotiated their way past Turkish giants Fenerbache in the previous round and now come up against a side which pulled off a minor miracle in the previous round.
Having been two goals down at home against Spartak Moscow, PAOK replied with three quick fire goals to turn the tie on its head. Then, in the second leg, they held their nerve despite being reduced to 10 men to hold on for a goalless draw and progress 3-2 on aggregate.
PAOK’s performances in continental competition have been nothing short of astounding so far. As well as eliminating Spartak, they got the better of Swiss outfit FC Basel in the second qualifying round, thrashing them 5-1 on aggregate which included a hugely impressive 3-0 win away from home.
But with home advantage in the first leg, Benfica are the red hot favourites to pick up a much needed win. The Portuguese club are at just 1.40 to walk away victorious, while PAOK are out at 7.50.
The Portuguese outfit beat Fenerbache in Lisbon 1-0 in the previous round, and the same result here is priced at 6.00, meaning that a US$5 bet would lead to a US$30 pay out. You can also make a simpler bet based solely on who will qualify for the group stages, and again Benfica are the favourites – the Portuguese are at 1.28 to progress, with PAOK at the longer price of 3.50.
Red Star host Red Bull
And the final first leg tie on Tuesday comes from Serbia, as Red Star Belgrade host Red Bull Salzburg. Both of these sides are used to having it their own way on the domestic front, but something will have to give over the course of these two legs with a place in the group stages of the Champions League at stake.
Red Star are 17 points clear in their national league championship, and last week won away to Spartak Trnava to book this match with Red Bull. Confidence will be high in the Serbian camp and they need to make home advantage pay.
Red Bull, however, have also been dominant in Austria for over a decade now. They have made a 100 per cent start to the new domestic season and will want to start making inroads in European competition.
And despite being away from home, it is Red Bull who come into this first leg tie as the favourites. You can more than double your money by backing Red Bull at 2.20, while you could more than triple your money if you think Red Star can make home advantage count at a price of 3.30 – a draw is at the same price.
Red Bull won 1-0 away to Shkendija Tetovo in the previous round and that result would serve them very well here. A 1-0 win for the visitors is priced competitively at 7.50.
UEFA Champions League qualifying first leg ties:
(4.00) BATE x PSV (1.85); draw (3.60)
(1.40) Benfica x PAOK (7.50); draw (4.50)
(3.30) Red Star x Red Bull Salzburg (2.20); draw (3.30)11 BUSINESS NUGGETS FROM SUPER EAGLES BRONZE MEDAL TRIUMPH. The content of this ebook will propel you above your competition. DOWNLOAD NOW!!!