Romanian side Cluj are already well into their season and that could help them in this challenge of getting to the group stage of the Champions League. They pulled off something of an upset in the last round by knocking out Celtic. Slavia Prague are coming in at this playoff stage. Read our CFR Cluj v Slavia Prague betting tips for more.
Slavia Prague 13/8
CFR Cluj 13/8
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on August 18th, 2019 at 4:16 p.m.)
CFR’s record against Czech teams is W2 L2 and it has been a challenging campaign for them so far in this season’s Champions League. They have gotten past Astana, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Celtic. They lost their away leg against Astana but recovered back at home. Then they just edged Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-2 on aggregate after a tense 2-2 second leg away draw. But Cluj did compose themselves pretty well to get past Celtic.
After a 1-1 home draw in the first leg, they looked in trouble. But they took their chances superbly at Celtic Park to get a 4-3 win there against the Scottish Championship. That is just one clean sheet in six European games from them this season though. In all competitions, this season Cluj are W7 D4 L2. They are unbeaten at W4 D2 at home. CFR Cluj have scored one goal exactly in four of their six home fixtures this season.
This tie is the first meeting between the two clubs
Czech champions Slavia Prague are stepping out into action here in the Champions League for the first time this season. They have gotten some domestic action under their belt, so shouldn’t be rusty or anything. They are W5 D1 in their six league games played this season and they have only conceded one goal in that sequence of games. Slavia Prague are undefeated in six previous games against Romanian Clubs (W2 D4).
It was 12 years ago that Slavia Prague made their sole appearance in the group stage of the Champions League. Last season they fell in the Champions League third qualifying round and then made it to the Europa League group stage, going on to make a run to the quarter-finals where they were stopped by Chelsea. Slavia Prague has claimed just one win in their last 15 UEFA Champions League matches (D7 L7).
This has the look of being a tight fight all the way. There is no clear front runner in this tie and we expect a low-scoring, tense first encounter. We are just going to lean towards the draw on the night.
19th August 2019 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
The tie is balanced after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. But still now with the rreturn leg on home soil, Celtic are the overwhelming favourites to get through. An away goal from the trip to Romania put them in a decent place. The winner of this tie will move on to face Slavia Prague in the playoff round. Read our Celtic v CFR Cluj betting tips for more.
CFC Cluj 11/2
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on August 12th, 2019 at 1:14 p.m.)
Celtic have been well among the goals this season. Across all competitions, they have posted a W6 D1 record from seven played, the draw coming in the first leg of this tie. That is the only game they have played this season too, in which they have not scored at least two goals. Celtic rattled off a 5-2 win at Motherwell in the Scottish top flight on the weekend, making it twelve goals in two games in their title defence on the domestic front so far.
In Europe they started with a 5-2 aggregate win over Sarajevo, before banking a 7-0 aggregate success over Nomme Kalju. After their 1-1 draw in Romania, Celtic are now W5 D3 L1 in their last nine UEFA Champions League games, the draw against Cluj snapping a four-match winning streak. Celtic are also W4 D1 in their last five European games on home soil, scoring at least two goals in each of the wins in that sequence.
The first leg of this tie was the first competitive meeting between the two clubs
Cluj will probably be pretty happy with their work on home soil in not getting beaten by Celtic. They should be fully aware that they are up against it now in Glasgow. CFR Cluj started their European campaign this season in the first qualification round, taking a 3-2 aggregate success over Astana after having lost the first leg away from home 1-0. Then they claimed another 3-2 aggregate success when they took on Maccabi Tel Aviv in the second qualification round.
The Romanians have won just one of their last five Champions League away games now (D3 L1) which actually isn’t all that bad. Their loss at Astana in this season’s campaign is their only road defeat in their last eight away games in the Champions League. They are not going to pose a massive threat to Celtic at Parkhead, but they may put up some early stubborn resistance.
We don’t see any troubles ahead for Celtic. They have been in fine scoring form with Ryan Christie having had a tremendous start to the new season. The challenge of Cluj will fall away from the longer the game wears on. With that having been said, Celtic to win to nil.
13th August 2019 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting
Romania’s CFR Cluj is the next opponent that Celtic have to try and get through on their road to the Champions League group stage. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs, both starting in the first qualifying round. The bookmakers are expecting a tight first leg here looking at the odds presented for the match. Read our CFR Cluj v Celtic betting tips for more.
CFC Cluj 9/5
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on August 5th, 2019 at 10:15 p.m.)
Cluj opened their qualification campaign this season with a tie against Astana. They managed to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to post a 3-2 aggregate success. So that was a struggle for them. It wasn’t a great deal easier for them in the second qualifying round either against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Cluj battled through to a 3-2 aggregate success.
Given their struggles on the road so far this season in the qualifiers, they are going to want to bank a strong home performance here. They are W3 D1 in their last four European home fixtures so they do have that going for them. Only two of their last seven UEFA Champions League matches have gone over the 2.5 goal line.
It feels like a long time since they were playing Manchester United in the group stage of the 2011/12 edition. They are four games into the new Liga 1 season and Club have a W3 D1 record from that.
The two teams will be meeting for the first time
So it’s a road trip up for Celtic first in this tie. They have been untroubled so far on their journey through the first qualifying rounds, giving up just one goal in their four games. They opened with a 5-2 aggregate win over Sarajevo. Then it was a comfortable 7-0 aggregate success over Nomme Kalju that the Scottish Champions earned. So it’s been plain sailing.
Given that they opened their new domestic season on the weekend with a crushing 7-0 win over St Johnstone, it’s far to say Celtic have opened the new season well. It is perhaps just the away form of Celtic that is worth a look. They have won both road games this season (by a two-goal margin) but overall they are W4 D1 L4 in their last nine European road games. Ryan Christie got a hattrick on the weekend taking his tally to five in five games this season.
Celtic do have the goals in them to get through this tie. This will be the toughest test which they have faced so far this season though and it does look to be a tricky away game. But we would back the Scottish champions to handle themselves and get a win, especially at the match outright price.
5th August 2019 / lee - Category: UEFA Champions League Betting