EUROPA: Champions League - Qualifiers
Match start: 20:45 (GMT+2)
The game of a new champion of Croatia during these Champions League qualifiers is amazing. The final two-matches winning over the first opponent (TNS, Wales with a devastating score 7:1 (2:0 and 5:1)) was rather predicted. But the winning over Salzburg, Austria - 1:1 (1:1 and 0:0) is really great.
But now, the Croatian fairy tale is coming to its end according to the experts and football analytics.
Rijeka Croatia (the head coach Matjaž Kek)
After three opening victories in a row over Slaven (2:0), Rudeš (4:1) and Istra (2:0) two defeats in a row had happened - Osijek (0:1) and its main opponent in the battle for a new champions title Dinamo Zagreb (0:2). This match was played at home arena of Rijeka. It is obvious, that simultaneous participation in two tournaments is very exhausting for the team.
Olympiacos Piraeus, Greece (the head coach Besnik Hasi)
But what is more important, this time the champion of Croatia had no luck with the draw procedure. As Olympiacos is the opponent of absolutely different game level, that has devastated not very weak Partizan, Serbia during previous round - 5:3 (3:1 and 2:2).
At the beginning of the current qualification campaign all experts noted that Rijeka and Partizan are the teams of an equal game level. And now, according to a draw, both champions will be the opponents of the super club from Greece each after each.
The first meeting of the teams of Besnik Hasi and Matjaž Kek will be held in Piraeus. And this factor means that before the return leg in Croatia Rijeka will have only theoretical chances to enter the group tournament.
Olympiacos – 1.55, draw – 4.00, Rijeka –7.00;
to win - odds 1.62 Pinnacle