Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Salzburg vs FK Liepaja Champions League Football Match Preview And Prediction - July 13, 2016


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Salzburg FC will be hoping they can perform a lot better than they managed in last season’s Champions League qualifying period. They were knocked out in the 3rd qualifying round after losing 3-2 to Malmo and aggregate, and they then went on to lose the Europa League playoff on penalties to Dinamo Minsk.

This was a stark contrast to their continental performance to season before, where they lost to Malmo again in the Champions League playoff before breaking the record for group goals scored in the Europa League.

Once again Salzburg dominated the Austrian Bundesliga last season as they beat Rapid Wien to the title by nine points, winning their 3rd consecutive Bundesliga title and their 6th domestic title in the last eight seasons. They also won the Austrian Cup for a 3rd time in a row.

This was all thanks to a sensational second half to the season where they won 12 and drew four of their final 16 games in all competitions, and since then they have won three, drawn one, and lost one of their club friendlies in preparation for the new season. Most recently they beat Wurzberger Kickers 4-1 last Wednesday.

Lepaja were technically only founded in 2014, with them inheriting the playing staff of the bankrupt FK Liepajas Metalurgs and taking their league position. Since their formation they have managed a 4th place finish in the Latvian Virsliga and, last season, they topped the table to claim their first trophy under the name.

This has granted them qualification to the Champions League, although some focus will also be on the currently ongoing Virsliga campaign. They are 14 games into the season and sit 2nd in the table, five points adrift of Spartaks Jumala and only two ahead of Ventspils below them.

The visitors are in decent form for this encounter though. They have won three of their last four and drew the other one, although their 2-0 away defeat to Ventspils in May shows they have vulnerabilities.

The high scoring Salzburg will be hoping to take advantage of that, and considering their history for goalfests my prediction is for a landslide victory for the clearly better side. Salzburg have regularly bagged three or more goals in a match over the past season or so, and they showed they can do it on the continental stage when they netted three or more goals in four of their six group games in 2014, with Celtic, Astra Guirgui, and Dinamo Zagreb struggling at the back against them.

My prediction is for a Salzburg -2.5 Asian Handicap Win at 1.825, and I’m also backing a 4-1 correct score prediction at nice odds of 14/1.

Striker Smail Prevljak is still out with a cruciate ligament injury.

Holding midfielder Dmitrijs Hmizs is also suffering from a cruciate ligament problem.

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