UEFA Champions League Qualifiers – Predictions for 23rd and 24th July

PSV Eindhoven v Basel

The most interesting game of the week is coming from the path of non-champions. PSV Eindhoven has lost the title in the Dutch Eredivisie in the last season even though they have spent more than 80% of the time as leaders. Now, they are forced into the 2nd round of the qualifiers with a tough opponent ahead. Basel is nowhere close to the form or quality from two or three years ago. Young Boys Bern are winning the title in Switzerland for the second time in a row without a lot of trouble. Bookies have marked the home team as a big favorite for the win here. The current price is 7/10.

The UEFA Champions League logo

Let’s take a look at some of the pre-season friendly games and recent form of these two teams. PSV decided to schedule and play four friendlies and the results overall are not satisfied. It started with a surprising goalless draw against Sion, followed with a 3-2 loss to Ligue 1 side Nice. The first victory was achieved against Aris a couple of days later. The last and biggest test against Wolfsburg was unsuccessful. The squad from Eindhoven have lost that game 2-0, offering nothing but poor creativity and awful performance. In terms of transfers, Angelino was sold to Man City, while the biggest acquisition is Bruma from RB Leipzig.

As for their opponents, FC Basel was extremely efficient during the pre-season period. Some of their opponents were not that exotic, but still, victories like 4-2 against Kriens or 5-1 vs Munich 1860 are surely nice morale booster. Basel’s third game was against Nurnberg (won 4-0), followed with another high scoring affair vs Lausanne (4-1 win). The last test though against Stuttgart ended in a 3-2 loss. Overall, head manager Marcelo Koller should be satisfied with the current form.

We would skip the full time winner odds for this clash. PSV have looked very inconsistent during the pre-season and conceded a lot of goals. Instead, we are going t back both sides to score at decent 1/1 odds.

Red Star Belgrade v Helsinki JK

Serbian champions have participated in UEFA Champions League last season and got drawn into the group of death with PSG, Liverpool, and Napoli. Many were expecting them to end that phase without any points at all, but Red Star collected four! They have shocked the world with a 2-0 home victory against Liverpool FC, against a squad which later on became the European champions. Serbians are not looking so confident this season though. We are indeed in the early stages, but we didn’t like how they played against Suduva in the previous round. Lithuanian champion even had a decent shot to advance due to poor defending. Helsinki is much more serious squad than Suduva, so there is a potential bump on the road for Red Star. Bookies marked them as massive favorites for the win though at 2/5 odds.

HJK are currently undefeated for five straight matches. Their domestic division, Veikkausliiga is currently in mid-season which could be a big advantage here. The start of the campaign was terrible, but the reigning champions have recovered and collected 25 points in 16 games. We have checked with Bettingtips4you and their experts don’t think they will go down in Belgrade without scoring at least one goal. The bet here is going to be Home win & Both teams to score at 2/1!

Celtic v Nomme Kalju

Many will say that Celtic FC was extremely lucky during these UEFA Champions League qualifying draws. After eliminating the champions of Bosnia, FK Sarajevo, The Hoops will have another opponent ranked low on the UEFA list. Nomme Kalju is the Estonian champions and they are coming to Celtic Park this Wednesday. Even though the odds were against this team, they managed to eliminate Shkendija in the previous round. There were no notable European results in the past.

Fans are not happy with Neil Lennon and the way Celtic is playing under him. Even though 5-2 win on aggregate against Sarajevo might look good on paper, the squad struggled in both games. Nomme Kalju could serve as an excellent opportunity to lift form and boost morale before the deciding rounds. Our betting prediction for this one is Celtic to win both halves at 5/6 odds.

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