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Champions League Preview – Wednesday

Champions League Preview – Wednesday

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Night two of the Champions League play-off round sees a couple of ties that wouldn’t look out of place in the group stage itself – with Porto hosting Roma and Monaco travelling to Villarreal.

The meeting of Porto and Roma, surprisingly a first between these regular Champions League protagonists in 34 years, is the glamour tie of the play-off round.

Both clubs took part in the group stage last season, with Roma qualifying for the last-16 as runners-up to Barcelona before exiting at the hands of eventual winners Real Madrid.

Porto, on the other hand, finished third and dropped into the Europa League. Despite those stats, Porto won three of their six group games, compared to just one win for the Serie A side.

It is the home side that boasts the better pedigree for engineering wins in this competition and, priced at 5/4, Porto are worth siding with for this first leg.

Monaco travel to El Madrigal for a potentially tricky encounter with Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine have missed out on the group stage since 2012 but have never lost in four tussles with Ligue 1 opposition.

Monaco made an inauspicious start to their league campaign on Friday, coming from two goals down to salvage a point at home to Guingamp.

They conceded three goals over two legs against Fenerbahce and the goals could flow in Spain once more. Over 2.5 goals in this one is priced at 7/5.

Brendan Rodgers’ stated ambition on taking over in Glasgow was to return Celtic to the Champions League group stage.

The Scottish champions have been unconvincing at times in navigating two rounds so far but they will surely not get a better chance than facing Israeli champions Hapoel Beer Sheva.

New arrival Scott Sinclair has scored in both Celtic appearances thus far and the winger, high on confidence, is 41/20 to make it three goals in three games since moving to Scotland.

Rodgers’ and Celtic will know how important a first leg win could prove and they are 10/17 to win in Glasgow.

Dundalk must chart new territory if they are to overcome Legia Warsaw and become the first Irish side to make the Champions League group stage.

Having dispatched BATE Borisov 3-0 at home last time out, Dundalk should not be underestimated by the Polish side.

The game has been switched to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and a 50,000 crowd is sure to generate a carnival atmosphere.

Since dispatching BATE however, Dundalk have lost both league games they have played. Can the part-timers lift themselves or has the magnitude of what might unfold turned their heads?

Legia faced Irish opposition two season ago, winning 5-0 away at St Patrick’s Athletic, their experience could tell here and they are 1/1 to win the first leg.

Viktoria Plzen face Ludogorets in the remaining tie. The Czech side have won both their previous Champions League play-off ties and, at 20/23 to qualify, they should be able to extend that record across the two legs.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.