The UEFA Champions League is back on the fore. Well, not the group stages, but the first round of qualifiers.
52 teams will battle for six group stage spots. There will be three qualifying rounds and a playoff with placements and seedings based on team coefficients.
Benfica, Monaco and PSV Eindhoven will be waiting in the third round of qualifiers. Indeed, last season’s Europa League finalists, Rangers, will be hopeful too.
Some exciting teams have been drawn in this round of qualifying. And based on the quality of these teams and their opponents, some bet options look more likely to deliver for punters.
Here are four of them:
Bodo/Glimt To Win And Over 2.5 Goals Against Ki
Bodo/Glimt caught the attention of many after defeating Jose Mourinho’s Roma 6-1 last season in the Europa Conference League.
That was only their third match in any European competition. And for the Roma manager, it was the first time his team would concede six in a match.
The Norwegian team has won the league twice in the last two seasons and gone as far as the quarterfinals on the continent. However, they have slumped quite concerningly to sixth position this season, 11 points behind Lillestrom.
The Yellow Horde will be desperate to avoid the same fate that befell them when they lost to Legia Warsaw at this stage the last time out.
Kjetil Knutsen will be confident against a Faroe Islands team that has won just once in five Champions League matches.
Amahl Pellegrino is his most dangerous player having scored eight goals this season.
This option looks almost certain to come through for punters interested in the UCL first qualifying round.
Goal/Goal Between Zrinjski Mostar And Sheriff
After a relatively successful Champions League campaign, including an upset against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Sheriff has its sights keen for the new campaign.
However, they face a particularly stiff opposition in the Bosnian Champions who lost just once in the league last season.
In fact, Sergej Jakirovic’s men have not lost at all this year.
Sheriff will be confident of progressing past this stage, especially after making it to the round of 32 in the Europa League.
New signing, Iyayem Atiemwen has opportunity to make a mark with this side with Sebastian Thill and Adama Traore having left.
Sheriff is the favourite to progress. However, for safety, a goal/goal affair will most likely suffice.
Over 1.5 Goals Between Maribor And Shakhtyor
Maribor are back once again to compete for Europe’s top-tier competition after three seasons out.
The Slovenian side come into this round off the back of a league title win. Their last season ouster in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League will be at the back of their minds.
Still, they have begun pre-season in shaky form under manager, Radovan Karanovic. And yet, the Violets will be relying on their experience having made it to the group stage three times.
Even more, their Belarusian opponents are yet to score in this competition, losing 1-0 in four matches played.
Maribor have almost everything in its favour to win and advance. In any case, at least over 1.5 goals will be scored in both legs.
Over 2.5 Goals Between Dudelange And Tirana
Luxembourg and Albania champions will go head-to-head for a chance to progress to the second round.
The hosts have qualified for the group stage of the Europa League twice in the last three seasons. Although, they barely had a chance of advancing.
Carlos Fangueiro’s team are no strangers to the Champions League qualifying series. Most of them have been losses, to be fair.
Orges Shehi’s men have consistently reached this stage being the most successful side in Albania. They lost to Red Star Belgrade in the second round and to Young Boys in the Europa League playoff last season.
With both teams likely to prosecute this match with the same formation (4-4-2), this has the makings of a goal fest.
Mohcine Nahder and Samir Hadji will lead the line for the hosts. Florent Hasani and Arbder Bytyqi will look to get the nod from Shehi.
This is a must-have option for smart punters with interests in the UCL qualifiers.