Champions League Qualifying: three tips as the road to Istanbul begins

Robin Bairner

4 July 2022

It was little over a month ago that Real Madrid claimed their 14th Champions League title, yet the competition is poised to begin for the 2022-23 season this week, with qualifying matches beginning on Tuesday.

Of course, none of the big guns will be involved in the competition for a couple of months yet, but nevertheless, this is where the road to Istanbul on June 10, 2023 begins.

Pyunik v Cluj

Tuesday July 5, 5pm

The first match of the Champions League this season has the potential to be a banana skin for Romanian outfit Cluj. This, after all, is a team that has lost six of its last nine away matches in Europe. While these have typically been against sterner opponents than Armenian side Pyunik, this is the opening match of the season and involves a significant trip.

Pyunik, meanwhile, have a decent home record at home in Europe, which includes a victory over Jablonec at home last season as well as a draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv the year before. Indeed, they have lost only three of their last 13 at home on the continent.

When they have lost lately, these have been blowout defeats, including a 4-0 loss to Wolves last season, so there is value in backing them with a handicap to avoid defeat here.

Recommended bet: Pyunik + 0.5 @ 2.8

Lech Poznan v Qarabag

Tuesday July 5, 7pm

Polish league champions Lech Poznan begin as warm favourites on Tuesday to overcome Azerbaijani opponents Qarabag. Despite their status, Poznan have not exactly impressed at home in Europe in recent seasons. Indeed, they have picked up just a couple of victories in their last five outings on the continent in front of their home supporters.

By contrast, Qarabag were a strong team on the road last season as they made it to the playoff stage of the Conference League. They won four of their seven away matches and drew another.

There are a couple of routes to go down to potentially land winning bets here, with Qarabag looking good value both on the handicap market and outright. Goals also look a strong possibility. Five of Poznan’s last six European home games have produced at least three goals while all of Qarabag’s last five away games on the continent have seen a similar return.

Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.08

Qarabag enjoyed an impressive European record on the road last season

Bodo/Glimt v KI

Wednesday July 6, 5pm

Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt were one of the surprise packages of European football last season as they made a run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Conference League. They played some slick football and were especially impressive at home as they picked up nine successive wins at home in the competition.

Now they turn their attentions to the Champions League, in which they were narrowly beaten by Legia Warsaw at this point last term. KI should prove little threat to the home side, who won six of their matches in their historic run by at least two goals.

They still boast largely the same squad as last term, and will seek to establish a decisive lead against their Faroese opponents, who dominate domestically but have lost three of their last four on the road in Europe.

Recommended bet: Bodo/Glimt -2 @ 1.54

Recommended bets

Pyunik + 0.5 @ 2.8
Lech v Qarabag over 2.5 goals @ 2.08
Bodo/Glimt -2 @ 1.54

Robin Bairner

4 July 2022

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