Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Astra Giurgiu vs FC Copenhagen Champions League Match Preview And Prediction - July 28, 2016

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Astra managed to dislodge Steaua Bucharest and Dinamo Bucharest from the top of the Romanian Liga 1 last season, winning the title by five points and subsequently earning qualification to the Champions League for the first time in their history.

The club only earned their first ever appearance in Europe in the 2013/14 season, when their qualification to the Europa League took them as far as the playoffs before Maccabi Haifa ended their hopes of reaching the group stages. They learned from this lesson though, and the next season they knocked Lyon out in the playoff round and made it through to the group stages. Unfortunately for them they finished last in a group including Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic, and Dinamo Zagreb, but they can still be pleased with their progression.

Astra couldn’t replicate this last season as AZ Alkmaar beat them 4-3 on aggregate in the playoff round, but now they face an entirely different competition in the Champions League.

The Romanian domestic season kicked off on Saturday too, with the title holders getting off on the wrong foot with a 4-1 thrashing at home to Dinamo Bucharest. This made it two wins, two draws, and two defeats in their last six outings.

Copenhagen’s title defence has started much more successfully than their opponents on Wednesday. Just two games into the Danish Superliga season and Copenhagen have picked up six points, scored seven goals, and kept a clean sheet throughout. In addition to this they hammered Crusaders 9-0 on aggregate in the Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round, making it four wins on the trot for them and 16 goals scored. They have won 12 and lost two of their last 14 matches as well, so they are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

The Danish outfit also have a much longer history in the Champions League than their opponents, although they still haven’t made it into the group stages since the 2007/08 season.

Copenhagen’s excellent form at the moment should give them an edge in this clash, and Astra’s 4-1 defeat at home certainly won’t have helped their confidence at the start of a long season. I think the Danes can get a win on Wednesday, and odds of 5/4 for that outcome look good value to me. I’m backing a 2-1 correct score prediction at excellent value odds of 9/1 as well.

This will be the first meeting between these sides.

Copenhagen have won 86% of their last 14 matches and 70% of their last ten away from home.

Striker Denic Alibec is sidelined with a lateral collateral ligament rupture.

Copenhagen are hoping to have a fully fit squad on Wednesday.

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