Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Viktoria Plzen vs Qarabag FK Champions League Match Preview And Prediction - July 27, 2016

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Viktoria Plzen made a return to European football in 2010 after an absence of nearly 40 years, with their only previous participation being a Cup Winners’ Cup tie with Bayern Munich which they lost 7-1 on aggregate.

They have put in some much more respectable performances since they first qualified for the Europa League in 2010. They went out at the first time of asking in that season, but the season after they made it to the Champions League group stages. They have since made it to two more Champions League group stages and to the last 16 of the Europa League twice.

Last season they were knocked out in the Europa League group stages, but they did manage to win the Czech First League title over Sparta Prague. They held a seven point lead in the end, despite losing their final three games of the season. You shouldn’t read too much into this trio of defeats though, because prior to that they had lost just one in 15 and since then they have won four and drawn two of their six pre-season matches.

Qarabag were absolutely dominant in their domestic season. They predictably finished top of the Azerbaijan Premier League, beating 2nd placed Zira to the table by an emphatic 22 points and lifting the Azerbaijan Cup to put the icing on the cake. They showed no signs of slowing down at the end of the campaign either as they won 20 of their last 22 matches and lost just once. They have already seen off F91 Dudelange in the Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round too, comfortably beating them 3-1 on aggregate.

Their European record is a little less impressive though. They have never made it to the Champions League group stages but have managed to make the Europa League group stages in each of the past two seasons.

However, Viktoria Plzen are a really good side who have the capability to punish them, and the hosts will be keen to make use of their home advantage. I think the Czech Republic outfit will build a fairly comfortable lead to take into the second leg, and odds of 2.000 for a Viktoria Plzen -1.0 Asian Handicap look very good value to me. I’m also backing a 2-0 correct score prediction at 11/2.

Tuesday will mark the first time that these sides have met one another.

Viktoria Plzen have won 73% of their last 15 home games, with 73% of these victories being by more than a single goal margin.

Centre back Marian Cissovsky is the only confirmed absentee after picking up a viral infection.

Qarabag are expecting to have a fully fit squad on Tuesday.

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