Qarabağ vs Viktoria Plzeň
Under 2.5 goals and both teams to score NO- 1/1!
Who will achieve their Champions League dreams, and who will fall at the final hurdle, as the champions of Azerbaijan and Czech Republic go head-to-head?
Qarabağ continue to dominate the Azerbaijani Premier League, winning eight of the last nine titles, monopolisation that has given them a platform to excel in Europe.
Since their first in 2014, the Horseman have featured in a UEFA group stage in eight successive seasons, a streak that will continue.
Gurban Gurbanov led them into the Champions League for the very first time in 2017, an achievement they’re keen to replicate.
Already this season, Qarabağ have overcome Lech Poznań, FC Zürich and, most recently, Ferencváros.
In the third qualifying round, despite only drawing 1-1 in Baku, they then went and, to the surprise of many, won 3-1 in Budapest.
Ibrahima Wadji bagging a brace, with Abdellah Zoubir also on target, last Tuesday at Groupama Aréna.
If Qarabağ are to get through this tougher tie, they’ll surely need to make this first leg at Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium count.
Viktoria Plzeň meantime have already guaranteed they’ll be returning to a group phase, but which variety will it be?
They won the Czech First League for the first time since 2018 last season, ending Slavia Prague’s streak.
In Europe, they’ve qualified for seven group phases, with the most recent of these in the Champions League four years ago.
Subsequently, Viktoria Plzeň have reached the play-off round twice, but have been eliminated by Hapoel Be’er Sheva and CSKA Sofia.
So far this season, Michal Bílek’s team have knocked out HJK and FC Sheriff, impressively winning both legs 2-1 against the Moldovan champions.
Who will come out on top in this huge first leg in Baku?