Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Sparta Prague vs Steaua Bucuresti Champions League Match Preview And Prediction - July 27, 2016

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Sparta Prague have had mixed success in Europe recently. In the Champions League they have struggled massively, failing to make the group stages since the 2005/06 season. However, the Europa League has been much kinder to them, and last season saw them make it all the way to the quarter finals of the competitions after their elimination from the Champions League in the 3rd Qualifying Round.

They beat the likes of Krasnodar and Lazio to make it that far after qualifying from their group, but Villarreal proved too much for them as they beat them 4-2 on aggregate. However, that sort of run in Europe can be considered very successful for them based on their recent performances.

Their European commitments meant that they fell off the pace in the Czech First League title race, and they eventually finished seven points adrift of winners Viktoria Plzen after winning just two of their final seven league games. Pre-season hasn’t gone much better for them either, so they will want to increase confidence in their camp ahead of the beginning of the domestic season on Saturday.

Steaua Bucharest failed to win their own domestic title too, with Astra Giuriu lifting the Romanian Liga 1 trophy in May. Unlike their opponents they don’t have a European campaign to blame, as they exited the Champions League in the 3rd Qualifying Round last season and then were knocked out in the Europa League playoffs.

However, they have managed to make a good run at the Champions League in recent years. Steaua Bucharest made the group stages in the 2013/14 season, and their Europa League campaigns have generally been pretty good on the years they were knocked out of the Champions League in qualifying.

The visitors pre-season form has been exceptional too, and their form towards the end of last season wasn’t too shabby either. They are currently unbeaten in 11 matches and have won eight of them. This includes five wins from their last six away games as well, and looking back even further they have won eight of their last ten trips away.

These two sides are fairly similar in stature and we could be in for a tight contest with this one. The high confidence and excellent form of Steaua Bucharest is likely to come into play though, so I think they’ve got a real chance on Tuesday. I’m backing them to get something from this game, and odds of 11/10 for a Steaua Bucharest Win or Draw Double Chance look excellent value to me. I’m going for a 2-1 win for the visitors at huge odds of 16/1 for my correct score prediction.

The last and only meeting between these sides was at the beginning of 2015, with Steaua Bucharest winning 3-0 in a friendly.

Steaua Bucharest have won 80% of their last ten away games, whilst Sparta Prague have only won 40% of their last ten at home, losing 50%.

Sparta Prague are expecting to have a fully fit squad on Tuesday.

Midfield duo Sulley Muniru and Lucian Filip are both expected to miss out.

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