Champions League Preview: Ajax, Benfica, and Celtic all in action
Cian Carroll | 7 August 2018
Odds and tips for Tuesday and Wednesday’s ties
The third round of the Champions League qualifiers begin in earnest with a host of ties spread across the two nights.
Celtic are the British representation. But there are a couple of humdingers to get excited about. The Coral News Team run you through the best of them with some odds and tips.
Standard Liege v Ajax – Tuesday, 7:45pm
Ajax will face either Dynamo Kiev or Slavia Prague in the play-offs if they manage to get past Belgian outfit, Standard Liege.
The Dutch giants haven’t made the UCL group stages since 2014-15. But The Amsterdammers will know they have a fantastic chance this season.
These two played each other in the 2016-17 Europa League with Ajax bagging a 1-1 draw away, followed by a 1-0 win at home. We can see a similar scenario here.
Benfica v Fenerbahce – Tuesday, 8:00pm
The last time Benfica had to go through the qualifiers was back in 2011. Fenerbahce haven’t made the group stages proper since 2008-09.
The last time the pair met, the Turkish giants won 1-0 at home. However, the Lisbon outfit turned it around in the return leg, winning 3-1 at the Estadio da Luz.
However, Benfica have been awful in the UCL for a couple of seasons now and lost their last seven straight games in the competition.
But Rui Vitoria’s side are traditionally strong at home. And Fenerbahce tend to depend on their performances at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Celtic v AEK Athens – Wednesday, 7:45pm
Brendan Rodgers will be ultra-confident his side can progress past AEK Athens, particularly in this first-leg at Celtic Park.
The Hoops have been in tremendous form, both domestically, and in Europe. And this will be AEK’s first competitive game of the season.
The Greek champions lost their manager Manolo Jimenez to Las Palmas in the summer. And, in addition, two of their star performers in Ognjen Vranjes and Jakob Johansson.
This will be particularly tough for the Greek Super League side. Celtic are generally incredibly strong at Parkhead with a raucous home support cheering them on.
Celtic are 3/4 to win. Odsonne Edouard has been on-fire this term already. The former Paris Saint-Germain youngster is 10/3 to find the net first.
Check out our Big Match Breakdown of the first leg tomorrow.
Click here for more Champions League odds
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing