This season’s embryonic Champions League continues on Tuesday and Wednesday and there is plenty to play for in a number of the second-round qualifiers.
The standout match-up always looked set to be Basel v PSV Eindhoven and after playing out a 3-2 thriller in the Netherlands, the same again is likely in the second leg at St. Jakob-Park.
Goals were always likely in this tie. Basel were the better side in the first leg and squandered a late lead. However, grabbing two away goals is a decent consolation.
The Bebbi lost 2-1 at home to St Gallen this weekend, making it three competitive games this term in which both sides have scored. Perhaps there was a feeling Marcel Koller’s side were distracted on Saturday with this competition vital to how their season will be judged.
PSV are in a similar boat and were second best throughout Saturday’s 2-0 Johan Cruyff Schaal defeat to Ajax.
Mark van Bommel has again had to contend with losing key players this summer, namely captain Luuk de Jong, and his side could fall short in Switzerland.
A 0-0 draw at the Doosan Arena means it is all to play for when Olympiakos and Viktoria Plzen reconvene their rivalry in Piraeus on Tuesday.
The Czechs were the better team on home turf and while they avoided conceding an away goal, a failure to take their chances could prove costly.
Olympiakos’ unbeaten run, stretching back to last season, now stands at 17 games and while they are usually in and around the goals, the first match suggests this will be a tighter affair than they have come to expect.
The Karaiskakis Stadium is sure to be rocking and that could help Thrylos edge a victory.
Maribor’s only previous European match against a Swedish side was a 4-1 defeat in 1996 and AIK will hope to cause similar pain on Wednesday.
The Slovene champions were the 2-1 winners at Ljudksi vrt and will hope for another positive result as they eye a fourth trip to the group stages.
AIK last made the groups in 1999-00 and like our other matches, home advantage could make the difference with Rikard Norling’s side a reasonable price to make it through.
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