The final chapter of the Champion League playoffs takes place this Wednesday. There won’t be any easy matches, that is for sure, but, this doesn’t mean that money can’t be made. Read more about the duels CSKA vs. Young Boys and FC Copenhagen vs. Quarabag to get a better picture of what to expect!
CSKA Moscow (Rus) vs. Young Boys (Sui)
Three-Way: 1: CSKA -112; X: +290 Draw; Young Boys +400
Spread -0.5: CSKA -123; Young Boys +114
Total +2.5: Over -119; Under +114
Rather surprisingly, CSKA managed to grab the win away from Switzerland in the first leg. The score was 1:0, which gives a nice advantage to the Russian side over Young Boys going into the rematch on Wednesday. They just need to ensure they don’t allow too many goals on Wednesday. Luckily for them, they’re kind of experts when it comes to keeping the net safe.
In fact, the main reason why CSKA got this far in the Champions League playoffs is that they were impressive in defense. They have beaten AEK Athens in both games of the doubleheader, without allowing a goal. Furthermore, if you take a look at CSKA’s statistics from the previous season of the Russian Premier League, you will see that they’re the best defensive side, allowing only 15 goals in 30 matches.
They haven’t been as brilliant this season, in which they already allowed 8 goals in just 7 games. Still, this doesn’t mean CSKA is without quality at the back. On the contrary, some of their best players are defenders – Sergei Ignashevich, Mario Fernandes, Georgi Shchennikov, Berezutski twins, etc. We also mustn’t forget the team captain, Igor Akinfeev, who’s a goalkeeper.
All of these players are fit and ready for the match. In fact, the only absentee in the squad of CSKA Moscow is Aleksandr Makarov, a 21-year-old midfielder, who is yet to make his debut as a senior player.
Despite dominating the first part of the Champions League playoff saga with CSKA, Young Boys are down 1:0 on aggregate. They failed to utilize their chances last week at the Wankdorf Stadium, mainly because of the brilliant play of CSKA defense.
It’s definitely going to be hard for the Young Boys team to score in Moscow, but they will definitely try. Their manager, Adolf Hütter has several top-quality attackers at his disposal, including Guillaume Hoarau, who was last season’s second-best scorer in the Swiss Super League.
The thing that worries Young Boys fans is that their side is not known for good performances away from their stadium. Last season, for example, they won only 7 away matches in the league out of possible 15. When it comes to their away stats in the Champions League, they’re even worse – Young Boys lost 5 previous away matches!
CSKA Moscow (Rus) vs. Young Boys (Sui) – Match Prediction
Beating CSKA in Moscow seems like a mission impossible for the Swiss side. If they fail to utilize their chances, like they did in the first leg, the Swiss side will have to be satisfied with getting a place in the Europa League. That said, CSKA to get qualified seems as a smart betting option. If the odds don’s seem compelling enough to you, feel free to go with a low number of goals.
MY PICK: Under 2.5 (+114)
FC Copenhagen (Den) vs. Qarabag (Aze)
Three-Way: 1: FC Copenhagen -125; X: +270 Draw; Qarabag +455
Spread -0.5: FC Copenhagen -133; Qarabag +121
Total +2.5: Over +135; Under -145
FC Copenhagen is down 1:0 on aggregate against the champion of Azerbaijan, Qarabag. Still, this doesn’t mean that Qarabag should be considered a favorite for a spot in the Champions League group stage. On the contrary, the quality is on the side of the Danish team.
There is over 4 thousand kilometers distance between Denmark and Azerbaijan, which might be the reason why FC Copenhagen lost in the first game. Not only did they have to fly almost across the whole continent, but the players needed to adjust to the very hot weather. Still, the weather conditions should not be an excuse for FC Copenhagen players who failed to create enough chances in the last week’s match.
In fact, Qarabag dominated that game, with 7 shots on the opponent’s goal, compared to only 1 goal attempt of FC Copenhagen. If they want to go to the elite European competition, the Danes will have to do much better in the attack.
They definitely have the quality to score a couple of goals on Wednesday evening. Their attackers, Soterio, Santander, and Pavlovic, seem to get better as days go by, at least in the Danish Superliga. Speaking of it, FC Copenhagen won only 2 out of previous 6 matches. Still, they did well in the last round, beating SønderjyskE 3:2.
The biggest worry FC Copenhagen fans have is that a couple of their regular defenders are sidelined because of injuries (Erik Johansson, Tom Høgli). Still, in this game, they need to think about the attack, not defense.
This team has been in an impressive form lately. In fact, not counting friendlies, Qarabag won 9 of 10 previous matches. Actually, this side is without a defeat since February, when they lost 2:0 to their arch-rivals, Inter Bakı.
When it comes to the Champions League, Qarabag relatively easily went past Sheriff, beating them 2:1 in an away game, while playing 0:0 in Azerbaijan. As I’ve already mentioned, Qarabag won against FC Copenhagen in the first part of the doubleheader, in a match in which they were pretty impressive.
But, can they do something similar in Denmark? All of their players are injury-free. Not to mention that the morale is very high in the locker room. Still, I’m not sure whether they have enough quality to book a spot in the Champions League.
FC Copenhagen (Den) vs. Qarabag (Aze) – Match Prediction
FC Copenhagen is expected to go full strength on Wednesday night. The Danish team definitely has the quality to beat Qarabag, despite the fact that they didn’t show that last week. Quarabag will try to close out the gaps in the back line and build a fortress around their goal. Still, the odds seem attractive for betting on the home team, which is exactly what I am going with.
MY PICK: FC Copenhagen to win (-125)
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