We’re into the final stage of UCL qualification with 10 teams vying for the final 5 spots. Liverpool, Napoli and Sevilla are among the favourites to get through but as we have seen in the past anything can happen. The Wolf shares his thoughts with us and says to make sure you have something on Both Teams To Score in the Celtic/Astana clash.
Hoffenheim v Liverpool – (Wed 4:45am)
It has been a long time between drinks for Liveprool in terms of the Champions League. If they are to qualify it will be just their 2nd appearance in the UCL draw since 2009 – a remarkable statistic for one of the most successful sides in European football. Getting there though will not be easy. Liverpool have won just 1 of their last 7 away UCL matches which includes losses to Fiorentina and Basel along with draws against Lyon and little known Ludogrets. They have maintained just a single clean sheet in that stretch and The Wolf says they will be conceding again in this one. They simply cannot get things right at the back and as good as they are going forward, they are just as bad when it comes time to defend. Hoffenheim lost just 2 of their last 14 Bundesliga matches to close out last season – registering wins over Bayern Munich and Leverkusen along the way. The Wolf says Liverpool will not be taking a winning scoreline back to Anfield.
Best: Both Teams To Score – YES ($1.57)
Value: Draw ($3.60)
APOEL v Slavia Prague – (Wed 4:45am)
This may surprise most people but APOEL have been in or around the UCL for close to a decade. They made the quarter finals in 2011/12 (losing to Barcelona) and have regularly qualified for the main draw since 2009. Their squad is now largely made up of foreign players and that includes a recent Australian addition – Tommy Oar. They have a remarkable record at home both in the league and in Europe. Across all of their 33 UCL matches (qualifying included) they have lost just 8 times at home with sides such as Chelsea, Porto and PSG beating them by a solitary goal. Slavia were the dominant side in the Czech league last season but they have had next to no success playing on the road in this competition. They are without a win in their last 6 away UCL matches and have failed to score in 3 of their last 5. APOEL with grind their way to victory.
Best: APOEL WIN ($2.70)
Value: Teams To Score – APOEL Only ($3.75)
Istanbul v Sevilla – (Thur 4:45am)
It has been a big off season for Sevilla with the addition of several proven stars. Nasri returned to Manchester but they have been able to acquire the services of Ever Banega, Nolito and Jesus Navas – all proven players in La Liga in the past. Istanbul are coming off their best ever result in the Super Lig finishing second behind Besiktas but as we have seen in the past European football is a different proposition all together. Sevilla have been one of the most successful teams when it comes to continental football over the last 5 years. They won the Europa League for 3 straight year between 2014-16 and make the knockout stages of the UCL last season. If there is one team that knows how to play the home and away format it is Sevilla. They have 6 clean sheets in their last 8 matches in this competition and will get the result they need in Turkey.
Best: Both Teams To Score – No ($1.95)
Value: Under 2.5 goals & Sevilla ($4.20)
Napoli v Nice – (Thur 4:45am)
This is set to be Napoli’s toughest season since returning to this competition back in 2011. They have finished in the top 3 of Serie A in 4 of the last 5 season but with their rivals all strengthening their squads they could be in trouble. They have enough continuity in their squad to produce consistent results but if Dries Mertens doesn’t fire they will have a tough time putting sides away. For a side that had names such as Lavezzi, Cavani and Higuain they are definitely skinny up top. Nice will not pose any threat here though.. after all they have lost their opening two league games and have done so against Saint Etienne and the recently promoted Troyes. This one could get ugly for the French side.
Best: HT/FT – Napoli/Napoli ($1.75)
Value: Napoli Over 3.5 goals ($4.25)