Category Archives: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Champions League Preview & Betting Tips – Dynamo Kyiv vs. AZ Alkmaar


Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex | Tuesday 15th September | 18:00 GMT

In the biggest game for the club in recent history, AZ Alkmaar travel to the Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League Third Round of Qualifying. Will Burns feels like AZ may not have what it takes to beat the Ukrainian giants… unfortunately.

After the disappointment of calling the season off early last March, when AZ looked to becoming the champions of Eredivisie, Arne Slot’s men had the prospect of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League to pick them back up.

However, on Tuesday night, they travel to the Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev, a true force for decades in this home country and European competitions. This is the third round of qualifying and it’s certainly not easy.

AZ were given a reprieve this weekend as the KNVB, committed to aiding their clubs in European tournaments, cancelled their opening game to FC Utrecht, so that Slot and his team can concentrate on this one legged fixture.

In the last round, AZ made hard work of their home tie against Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen. A 95th minute penalty which was scored by Teun Koopmeiners, saved their blushes and took the game into extra time at the 1-1 scoreline. Two extra time goals by Albert Gudmundsson saw Alkmaar send the Czech home unhappy but it was far from convincing. If they have any chance on Tuesday, they will need to vastly improve.

We asked Zorya Londonsk’s Andrew Todos about AZ’s opponents on Tuesday and he gave us a tremendous insight into their recent form, tactics and star players. Well worth a read.

Recently Dynamo has embarked on their new Ukrainian Premier League campaign and are undefeated in three games since the season kicked off. The opening day of the league saw Kiev easily defeating Olimpik Donetsk by a 4-1 scoreline. Then they lifted the domestic Super Cup beating rivals Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 before drawing a 0-0 blank against title challengers Desna.

In addition, we heard (below) that Kiev’s star player Viktor Tsyhakov did not train on Monday and that could spell that he will be unavailable.

We all know there is a four tremendous goal threats at Slot’s disposal with Myron Boadu, Oussama Idrissi, Teun Koopmeiners and Calvin Stengs were all capable of double figures last season.

I think it is a big ask to say that AZ will win on Tuesday, and don’t get me wrong, they could, but Kiev are a strong team. One thing I am sure of, is that I feel AZ could get a goal. Our colleague Andrew Todos wrote: “Dynamo have serious defensive issues. First choice right back – Oleksandr Tymchyk was subbed off inside 35 minutes vs Desna with a groin injury. He will be out for a while. Similarly, centre backs Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov are also unavailable for a prolonged amount of time.”

Koopmeiners: "Dit is ons doel en boem, we gaan ervoor"
Captain Koopmeiners is an excellent penalty taker.

AZ captain Teun Koopmeiners is always good for a goal notching 16 in all competitions last year and he takes AZ’ spot kicks too. For a high pressure match like this, we could see one of Kyiv’s defenders go in the tricky feet of Boadu, Stengs or Idrissi allowing Koopmeiners a chance to notch


So I have selected two bets for Tuesday night’s big game. Both Teams to Score is best priced at 1.80 at bet365 and if we see an AZ penalty, like the last round, Koopmeiners will score it. He is a HUGE price of 5.60 at Unibet but keep an eye out any other bookies pricing this up before kick off – just in case we see a higher price. The bookies struggle with these games.

Both Teams to Score (1.80 at bet365)

Teun Koopmeiners to score (5.60 at Unibet)

Who are AZ’s Champions League opponents – Dynamo Kyiv


Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex | Tuesday 15th September | 18:00 GMT

Football: Lucescu resigns from his post, leaves Dynamo Kyiv FC - Football:  Lucescu to part ways with Dynamo Kyiv FC -

Dynamo Kyiv are currently experiencing their longest drought without Champions League football since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 writes Zorya Londonsk’s Andrew Todos.

The last time they made the Group Stages was the 15/16 season. Ever since, hopes have been dashed in the Qualifying rounds – resulting in Europa League campaigns as the fallbacks instead. This failure to qualify for the UCL Group Stages has coincided with the club’s recent decline. Whilst they’ve still been able to finish second domestically in all these years, the gap between themselves and Champions Shakhtar has grown exponentially due to poor managerial appointments and player recruitment.

This led the owner to appoint former Shakhtar manager and one of the most decorated managers of all time – Mircea Lucescu to steer the ship at the old age of seventy five!

The club’s Ultras have reacted with great animosity to the decision due to a long history of Lucescu being controversial in regards to their club and even to Ukraine as a whole.

UPL. Matchday 2. Dynamo – Desna. Preview - FC Dynamo Kyiv. Official club  website

Recent Form

The 20/21 UPL kicked off ahead of the recent international break. Dynamo got off to a winning start under Lucescu – convincingly hammering lowly Olimpik Donetsk on the opening day 4-1.

Following this, Lucescu and his new side faced his old club in the Ukrainian Super Cup. Dynamo defeated Shakhtar 3-1 and picked up the first ‘trophy’ of the season.

Ahead of the UCL 3rd Qualifying round, Dynamo faced fellow medal place challengers Desna. Their opponents ran them close in the league last season and shut Dynamo out by parking the bus, despite the Kyiv side’s relentless attacking efforts. The game ended 0-0.

Formation and Tactics

It’s still quite difficult to work out exactly how Mircea Lucescu wants his new side to play. Dynamo were very secretive in their short pre season – providing no ‘live’ coverage of any of their friendlies. With the few competitive games we have seen thus far – it looks like Dynamo are aiming to play a possession based style with the steady introduction of a high press.

However, the club is currently in the midst of an injury crisis – which has likely prevented Lucescu in showcasing exactly the type of philosophy he wants to move forward with.

Dynamo have serious defensive issues. First choice right back – Oleksandr Tymchyk was subbed off inside 35 minutes v Desna with a groin injury. He will be out for a while. Similarly, centre backs Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov are also unavailable for a prolonged amount of time.

This has forced Lucescu to play Tomasz Kedziora, a natural full back in the heart of his defence alongside usual left back Vitaly Mykolenko in the most recent league match.

Artem Shabanov, who is a centre back by trade may return to the starting XI for the AZ tie, following rehabilitation from his own injury.

Predicted Line up (4-3-3)


(RB) Kedziora

(CB) Shabanov

(CB) Mykolenko

(LB) Karavayev

(CM) Sydorchuk

(CM) Buyalskyy

(CM/CAM) Shaparenko

(LW) De Pena

(ST) Supryaha

(RW) Tsyhankov

According to Transfermarkt, Tsygankov is the most expensive player in the  UPL –

Players to Watch

Viktor Tsyhakov

Dynamo’s key man. The winger has become the side’s leading light in recent seasons, stepping into the large hole left by Andriy Yarmolenko’s departure. Tsyhankov is Dynamo’s primary outlet for creativity and goals despite him playing out wide on the right. He’s pacey and possesses a very decent vision and delivery. Due to the inverted nature of his position, the left footed player is able to cut inside – however he is far less reliant on this compared to his predecessor – Yarmolenko. He will be the channel through which most dangerous attacks go through and if not – he will be trying to be on the end of them to finish the chances off.

Gerson Rodrigues

The Luxembourg international is another dangerous winger that Lucescu has under his disposal. He is unlikely to start but should he come off the bench – he will be sure to bolster the attack as he has done in Dynamo’s matches prior to the international break. The forward, who had fallen out of favour with the previous manager and was sent on loan last season as a result, is having a revival under the current one. He scored a magnificent lobbed winner in the Super Cup and had an influential 45 minute cameo in the 4-1 Olimpik match. He will be able to provide that creative spark should it be needed in the later stages of the game. 

Andrew Todos

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ZoryaLondonsk and on Instagram.

AZ Alkmaar – FK Viktoria Plzen Preview




Even though the Bayern Munich celebrations are still ongoing from their triumph on Sunday evening, AZ Alkmaar begin their quest for Champions League qualification on Wednesday afternoon in a proverbial banana skin one-legged match against Czech side FK Viktoria Plzen writes Will Burns.

We zullen er woensdag staan', zegt AZ-trainer Arne Slot, 'd ...
The AFAS Stadion is far from complete but will play host to this all important tie for AZ.

Even though the Bayern Munich celebrations are still ongoing from their triumph on Sunday evening, AZ Alkmaar begin their quest for Champions League qualification on Wednesday afternoon in a proverbial banana skin one-legged match against Czech side FK Viktoria Plzen.

Due to the current worldwide pandemic situation, UEFA introduced one-legged ties in the interim which introduces more uncertainty into the competition. By halving the length of the ties, this now matters least to the teams of similar ability and most to the teams of contrasting ability and provides more chance of an upset.

AZ head into the game as favourites but Plzen will be hungry for victory in this unfamiliar one-legged affair. The Czech’s experienced great disappointment at this stage last season, tasting defeat to Olympiakos, before coming a cropper just a few weeks later to Antwerp in the Europa League qualifying.

They qualified for this year’s competition by finishing second in the Czech 1.Liga in 2019/20 and have dished out convincing performances in recent friendly games. Plzen opened their league campaign up with a 3-1 victory over SFC Opava on Friday while resting a few players. Although they conceded first and missed a penalty, they ran out resounding winners by two goals.

GALERIE: SESTŘIH: Plzeň - Opava 3:1. Favorit otočil proti deseti ...
French striker Jean-David Beauguel will lead the line for Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday afternoon.

Plzen will led up top by their top scorer last year, Frenchman Jean-David Beauguel.  He notched 14 goals last term but was rested in Friday’s win until an injury forced him into the game late in the first-half. He went onto net once in the 3-1 win.

The Czech’s possess a strong midfield and creative attack and the AZ will have to be aware of that constantly. Teun Koopmeiners, Jordy Clasie and Dani de Wit will be in for a tough night and will have to play with great caution.

Despite just one win in six friendly outings and competing in an empty, half-finished home stadium on Wednesday afternoon, AZ are still favourites to win. As captain Teun Koopmeiners said in an interview earlier this week “Last year, the pre-season results were not as we wanted, but we won our first league game 4-0”, so spirits should not be down in the AZ camp.

UEFA Europa League: Who are AZ Alkmaar, Manchester United's Dutch ...
AZ’s Teun Koopmeiners is hopeful for a good performance.

They were boosted earlier this week as coach Arne Slot stated that veteran defender Ron Vlaar and speedy winger Calvin Stengs are both declared fit for the clash, however both men would be highly unlikely to see a full 90 minutes.

Stengs will be vital in the AZ forward line that worked so well last year. On the left, Oussama Idrissi will start and Myron Boadu through the middle, and the trio should create chances copiously to trouble Plzen keeper Ales Hruska.

If they can perform to the standards of last season, then advancing to the third round of qualifying should be a formality.


Although they will not be up to the usual performance and condition that Plzen may be, due to sheer abundance of pace and sheer talent in attack, I see an AZ win here. This is the same team that took Ajax to the limit last year, they are yet to lose any of their talents to the bigger leagues and they should have enough quality to see off the Czech league runners-up.

AZ to win with Both Teams to Score (4.00 at Bet365)

We will post preview/betting articles for the Eredivisie, Eerste Divisie, European and International competitions like this one throughout the year and we will keep track of our profits and losses for the whole 2020/21 season.  This is not an official bet due to lack of football from the Dutch sides over the past few months. Official bets will be begin in September.

Champions League: Look for Ajax to dominate AEK Athens

Twenty four hours after PSV Eindhoven lock horns with Barcelona in the Nou Camp, it is the turn of four-time European Champions, AFC Ajax, who open their Group E campaign by playing host to reigning Greek champions, AEK Athens at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening writes Steve Davies.

Ajax vs. AEK Athens

Wednesday, 17.55BST – Live on BT Sport ESPN

Twenty four hours after PSV lock horns with Barcelona in the Nou Camp, it is the turn of, Ajax, holders of the European title four times, who open their Group E campaign by playing host to reigning Greek champions, AEK Athens at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening.

Image result for ajax aek athens

Despite picking up what was the club’s twelfth league crown last term, AEK Athens last title triumph came all the way back in 1994 with the intervening years seeing the club go to the brink of financial disaster and start all over again as an amateur outfit in the third tier in 2013 before achieving back-to-back promotions to reclaim their top-flight status.

However, having reached the semi-finals of the old UEFA Cup in 1977, the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1969 in addition to making the same stage of the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in both 1997 and 1998, AEK’s European pedigree shouldn’t be ignored.

Having negotiated their way past Scottish champions, Celtic 3-2 on aggregate in the third round of qualifying, Marinos Ouzounidis’ side then edged out Hungarian outfit, Videoton in the play-off round by the same scoreline to claim a place in the group stage of the competition. In addition, AEK has begun their domestic campaign in fine form with three successive victories leaving them top of the pile with a two-point advantage over second place PAOK. Even more impressively, AEK is yet to concede a goal in the league while bagging seven goals in just three outings thus far.

Ajax’s European pedigree is of course without question. However, with the last of their four European Cup triumphs coming all the way back in 1995, the club, much like Dutch football’s UEFA coefficient, has endured a largely disappointing time on the European stage ever since.

Even the optimism surrounding Ajax’s run to the final of the UEFA Europa League in 2017, where a fearless Peter Bosz-coached side came up just short against Manchester United, failed to propel the club back to the forefront of European club football after tumbling out of qualifying for both the UEFA Champions League and then the UEFA Europa League in quick succession under Marcel Keizer last term.

Image result for ajax aek athens

However, with former FC Utrecht coach, Erik ten Hag having succeeded Keizer at the helm, Ajax once more look like a side to be feared and, having accounted for SK Sturm Graz, Standard Liege and Dynamo Kiev in relatively routine fashion to reach the group stage of the competition while opening their domestic campaign with four wins from five in which they have found the back of the net an impressive fourteen times and conceded only once to leave ten Hag’s men two points off pace-setting PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Eredivisie standings, the Ajax faithful have good reason to believe their side capable of snatching second place in a group that, Bayern Munich aside, appears to be there for the taking.

In a strange way, Ajax’s long and winding road to the group stage of the competition has actually served to help bring together a side that appeared at various points in the summer to be heading in different directions. Few expected the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt or Andre Onana to still be at the club but their rumoured moves failed to materialise leaving Erik ten Hag with an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.

As such, Ajax’s strong start to the campaign both at home and abroad has many expecting great things from the four-time European champions and with a vociferous Johan Cruijff ArenA behind them, ten Hag’s men should have no trouble getting off to a winning start in Group E.


Ajax to win 3-0

£5 on 9.50 at BetVictor

Season Record


Profit – £34.25


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Champions League: Back PSV to threaten Barcelona

PSV and Ajax will represent the Dutch in the Champions League and it doesn’t get much tougher than an away trip to the Nou Camp for Marc van Bommel’s side. Will Burns previews early Tuesday evening’s huge tie.

Image result for barcelona vs psv

FC Barcelona vs. PSV

Tuesday, 17.55BST – Live on BT Sport 1

This will be the first clash between Barcelona and PSV for over 20 years and what a daunting task this will be for Marc van Bommel as he returns to the Nou Camp as a head coach. However, his side travels to Spain in incredible form.

The Eindhoven side has won their last seven games in all competitions scoring a staggering 27 goals and conceding five including a 7-0 win away to ADO Den Haag last time out. The firepower of Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn, Luuk de Jong and Hirving Lozano have been responsible for notching twenty of the aforementioned 27 goals, and despite the gulf in class in the standard of teams, Barca will need to beware of the PSV forward line.

Barcelona themselves are on a winning streak of five, but this past weekend that record was in jeopardy. Real Sociedad hosted the first game in their newly refurbished Anoeta Stadium and led for the majority of the game after taking a 12th-minute lead from an Aritz Elustondo volley after Barca failed to clear a free-kick.

Similarly to how I envisage PSV to attack, although they have much possession, Sociedad looked dangerous on the counter, and Barca found this difficult to manage at times and their possession lacked any kind of penetration in the first 45 minutes. Meanwhile, after a frustrating first-half, coach Ernesto Valverde switched Sergi Roberto into full-back after the break as Phillipe Coutinho replaced Nélson Semedo and the former Liverpool man was influential in turning the game around.

The entrance of the Brazilian gave Barca a faster movement in possession and former Ajacied striker Luis Suarez and Ousamma Dembele notched to clinch a close fought win. For the best bet in this one, I cannot look past a home win, however; the scorers of 27 goals in seven games, PSV, like Sociedad this past Saturday, are more than capable to grab a goal.


Barcelona win with Both Teams to Score

£10 on 2.50 at 888Sport

Season Record


Profit – £44.25

Team news

FC Barcelona
Valverde experimented with his midfield this past weekend but look for him to select his strongest side with tunnel vision on the Champions League this season. Sergio Busquets and Coutinho were left out of the starting line-up, but they should come back in alongside Ivan Rakitic.

PSV Eindhoven
Not one to use much rotation, Van Bommel fielded a strong eleven at the weekend, but Erick Gutierrez has made a claim to start. The newly signed Mexican midfielder impressed from the bench on his debut scoring and creating another in the 7-0 victory against ADO.


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Champions League: Back PSV in the BATE goal-fest

Will Burns is on fire with two wins out of two on weekend’s Eredivisie action that has boosted our profits to £43.25. With a one goal advantage PSV can progress to the Champions’ League group stages with just a draw on Wednesday night, however Will thinks there will may be some trouble ahead.

PSV vs.  BATE Borisov

Wednesday, 20:00BST Live on BT Sport 3

PSV and Marc van Bommel are nearly in Thursday’s group draw with a hard fought 3-2 win last Tuesday in Borisov however, BATE will roll in Eindhoven knowing they have the ability to breach the PSV backline, and that’s where I’m honing in on for today’s bet.

After last week’s game, BATE may be struggling to cope with the regrets with the first leg as PSV put qualification on a plate for them. PSV were rocked to the core when Jasse Tuominen poked BATE ahead after just nine minutes but Van Bommel’s side progressively showed their superiority to claw back to 1-1 with a Gaston Pereiro penalty. On the hour mark, Mexican winger Hirving Lozano grabbed the lead for his side with a wonderful strike.

Donyell Malen PSV

But still the fight was there from BATE and some poor PSV defending gave veteran midfielder Alexander Hleb a goal off the bench in the 88th minute. However, PSV overcome this by venturing down the other end after the restart and youngster Donyell Malen, also a substitute, notched a headed winner on 89 minutes.

PSV got out of Borisov by the skin of their teeth and it won’t be easy on Wednesday at the Philips Stadion. Now the odds are massively stacked against the Belarusians but I can see them scoring a goal with PSV with the talent to notch a few themselves. PSV win with Both Teams to Score is a huge price at over 2/1 and I love the 2.80 on Over 3.5 Goals too.  Let’s go for that too in case we end up a high scoring draw with is very capable in a match of such magnitude.

This match, along with the Ajax game the night prior, is huge for the future of Dutch football. Good luck to both sides!


Over 3.5 Goals

£10 on 2.80 888Sport

PSV win with Both Teams to Score

£10 on 3.20 Paddy Power

Season Record


Profit: £43.25

Team news
Van Bommel rested Pablo Rosario in the 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle but the 21-year-old should return in place of young Belgian midfielder Dante Rigo.

BATE Borisov
Alexander Hleb could make the first eleven after scoring last week from the bench and in need of goals, BATE could play with two up front, If so, Maksim Skavysh would be the name added to the teamsheet.

Key stats
– PSV have seen at least two goals conceded in five of their last six Champions League games.

– BATE have scored in all of their last 9 competitive away games.


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Champions League: Ajax’s goal struggles means unders is a safe bet

Wednesday night sees Ajax host Dynamo Kiev in the next round of their Champions League qualification. Will Burns thinks Erik ten Hag’s men may struggle to find the net at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

Daley Blind Ajax

Ajax vs. Dynamo Kiev

Wednesday, 20:00BST – Live on BT Sport 2

In another massive night for Dutch football, Ajax face Ukrainian Premier League runners-up Dynamo Kiev in the final round of Champions League qualification. Erik ten Hag’s men have already dispatched Sturm Graz and Standard Liege and a win over two legs against Kiev will go a long way to help the UEFA coefficient for Dutch football.

Last December, on the release of the new UEFA rankings, it was declared that the champions of the Eredivisie would not automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. The Dutch are currently 14th in the UEFA rankings behind neighbours Belgium and the likes of Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland who arguably host weaker leagues.

The country and Ajax desperately need group stage qualification at the least and the Amsterdammers have pulled out all the stops this summer to make this happen. Big money signings Dušan Tadić and the returning Daley Blind put out a real statement of intent by Ajax, who brought in a total of four players for a big sum of €41m.

Although an abundance of talent is at Ten Hag’s disposal this is no easy route to the group stage for his side. In Atlético-esque fashion, Aleksandr Khatskevich’s side are masters of the 1-0 win. Out of all five domestic games this season, four in the league and one Super Cup final, they have won all five games by the 1-0 score line. Yes you did read that correctly – all five domestic games this season have ended in a 1-0 win for Dynamo.

Unbelievably they could have added another to the list in the away leg of the last Champions League qualifying round had Slavia Prague not scored a 95th minute penalty and that goal is the only goal they have conceded so far all season.

If we combine that with Ajax’s struggles to find the net in their two Eredivisie game so far, this will be a very tough contest for Ten Hag’s men. I envisage a cautious game that Ajax will find real difficulty breaking the Ukrainians down. Backing Under 2.5 Goals looks a sure bet and that is my recommendation in this match.


Under 2.5 Goals

£10 on 1.85 888Sport

Season Record


Profit – £29.75

Team news
David Neres should miss out after sustaining a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-0 over VVV-Venlo.

Dynamo Kiev
Summer signing from Dnipro-1, Vladyslav Supriaha is the only notable absentee.

Key stat
Kiev have won all five of their domestic games this season by a 1-0 scoreline.


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Champions League: PSV can set example for the future of Dutch football

It’s a huge European tie this Tuesday night as PSV travel to Belarus to face BATE in a Champions League qualifier, Will Burns previews what is a one of four most important nights for Dutch football in the next fortnight.

Hirving Lozano PSV

BATE Borisov vs. PSV

Tuesday, 20:00BST – Live on BT Sport 3

Tuesday night sees PSV Eindhoven embark on their Champions League qualification in a two-legged affair that is one of the most significant games in recent history for Dutch football.

Last December, on the release of the new UEFA rankings, it was declared that the champions of the Eredivisie would not automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. For at least the next two seasons, the Dutch champions have to go through the preliminary rounds before competing in the group phase. This was a huge blow to the country that has claimed three different European champions – Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV.

The Netherlands are now 14th in the UEFA rankings behind neighbours Belgium and the likes of Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland who arguably host weaker leagues. Unfortunately, due to the lack of success in previous European competitions, this has what has become of Dutch football now as the Eredivisie has become a significant exporter of young talent to bigger leagues.

The Dutch teams need to act to improve the situation for the future of the league, and there’s certainly one way to start on Tuesday night: PSV to clinch the win away to Belarusian’s BATE Borisov. I predict this will be a hard task for Marc van Bommel’s side as history has proved that BATE are always a tough proposition at the Borisov Arena. In the last ten European ties at home, BATE have been dealt one defeat, a 4-2 Europa League loss to Arsenal last season.

BATE have a lightning quick counter attack that should be spearheaded by Montenegrin international Mirko Ivanić. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder/winger showed off this prowess in the last round at home to Azerbaijani opponents Qarabağ FK in a second leg 1-1 draw. Ivanić capitalised on a wayward pass across the defence and powered a run through onto goal to place the ball confidently in the net.

However, they did look suspect at the back that PSV may find rewarding. Using the counter attack, BATE received a lot of pressure over the two leagues against the Azerbaijan champions, outscored heavily 29-13 over the two legs. One has to think with the quality in the PSV attack (Hirving Lozano, Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong) this defence can and should be breached and give the Eredivisie champions victory that themselves and Dutch football greatly need.


PSV win

£10 on 2.15 Bet Victor

Current Season Record


Profit – £18.25

Team news

BATE Borisov

The Belarusian Premier League has been on a short summer break throughout August so BATE are fully refreshed with no injuries announced.

PSV Eindhoven

In the 2-1 win away to a physical Fortuna Sittard on Saturday evening, in which Luuk de Jong stated: “We were lucky to snatch a late win”, Marc van Bommel named an unchanged side. It is thought he will do the same against BATE. No first team injury worries.

Key Fact

BATE Borisov have lost just one game in the last ten European home ties – a 2017/18 Europa League group stage fixture vs. Arsenal that finished 4-2.


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Champions League: Back Ajax’s Dusan Tadic to deliver knockout blow to Standard

After securing a healthy profit on the weekend’s Eredivisie games, Will Burns is on hand to try and add to the pot with his selection for the big Champions League qualification game at the Johan Cruijff Arena on tonight.

Dusan Tadic Ajax

Ajax vs. Standard Liege

Tuesday, 19:30

After dropping a 2-0 lead away in Belgium last week, Ajax host Standard Liege with hopes of clinching a slot in the next round of Champions League qualification. The Amsterdammers took a 2-0 half time lead with goals from Klass Jan Huntelaar and new summer signing Dušan Tadić.

However, Standard hit back from a Moroccan striker Mehdi Carcela-González wonder strike but Erik ten Hag’s side looked to be hanging on to take the win back to the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the travelling fans it was not to be, as in the dying seconds of stoppage time, young right-back Noussair Marzaoui was penalised for a soft foul on Moussa Djenepo in the area and Renaud Emond dispatched the resulting penalty.

This past weekend, the Eredivisie season did not get off to a perfect start for Ten Hag as his side were held to a 1-1 draw to Heracles with 19-year-old central defender Matthijs de Ligt heading home an equaliser to save the Amsterdammers’ blushes.

I’m focussing on one player for my pick, Dušan Tadić. I found it a great surprise when I read that the former Southampton winger had signed on the dotted line for Ajax this past summer. Dropping back to the Eredivisie, especially since Tadić was fifth in the Premier League last year for chances created (66) with five assists left me startled.

I rate the Serbian very highly and he’s already made his mark in this tie being involved in both goals last week in Belgium, creating Huntelaar’s opener and then smashing home an edge of the box strike to double Ajax’s lead.

I think he stands a great chance to fire in another goal against Liege who seemed to grant him a lot of space a week ago.

Recommended Bet: Dušan Tadić to score anytime – £10 on at 2.46 to win £24.60 at 888Sport/Unibet



Bets – 3

Wins – 2

Losses -1

Profit – £32.00


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City deliver a sad UCL return for Feyenoord


Group F

Feyenoord 0-4 Manchester City

De Kuip

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Feyenoord’s first appearance in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for fifteen years swiftly turned into a nightmare on Wednesday night as the reigning Eredivisie champions were hit four by a merciless Manchester City in front of a stunned De Kuip.

Image result for feyenoord 0-4 city

Despite coming into the clash with Pep Guardiola’s star-studded Citizens on the back of a 100% start to the campaign, coach, Giovanni van Bronckhorst was unable to call upon a number of key faces including star striker, Nicolai Jørgensen, who limped off in the early stages of Feyenoord’s win over Heracles on Saturday evening with a hamstring problem.

As a result, the hosts adopted an unfamiliar 5-2-3 formation with van Bronckhorst, as expected, recalling centre half, Eric Botteghin after the Brazilian sat out Saturday’s trip to Almelo while also somewhat surprisingly favouring Sofyan Amrabat in the starting XI over Kevin Diks and Jens Toornstra, who were dropped to the bench.

Having hit Liverpool for five last time out and boasting an unbeaten record of their own thus far this term, Guardiola’s men arrived in Rotterdam in confident mood, determined to erase the memory of last season’s round of 16 exit from European club football’s elite competition at the hands of Monaco on the away goals rule.

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This determination was clear for all too see as the visitors broke the deadlock in just the second minute of the match – John Stones out-jumping Jan-Arie van der Heijden to direct a David Silva cross from the left beyond both Feyenoord ‘keeper, Brad Jones and Tonny Vilhena, who failed to clear the England international’s headed effort off the line despite being perfectly placed to do so at the back post.

With the hosts rocking on their heels in front of a stunned home crowd, the away side soon threatened to double their advantage and very nearly did so just five minutes after taking the lead. However, Botteghin was on hand to snuff out the danger by heading compatriot, Gabriel Jesus’ looping goal-bound header off the line and over the bar after Jones was left rooted to the spot.

Having escaped by the skin of their teeth just three minutes earlier, Feyenoord did fall further behind ten minutes in when, having gotten free down the right, England international full back, Kyle Walker found Sergio Agüero on the edge of the box who, having escaped the attentions of his would-be marker, Botteghin, fired the ball beyond an exposed Jones to double the away side’s advantage.

Despite having been put firmly under the cosh for the opening twenty minutes of the contest the home side did eventually show signs of life when Jean-Paul Boëtius slipped Michiel Kramer in behind the City back line only for the man filling in for the injured Jørgensen to see his effort turned behind by visiting ‘keeper, Ederson, who was sporting a skull cap to protect extensive facial injuries sustained during a horrific clash with Sadio Mane in his side’s Premier League thrashing of Liverpool on Saturday.

However, any hopes the hosts may have harboured of staging a dramatic fight-back were dispelled in the twenty fifth minute when Jones could only parry a vicious low drive from Benjamin Mendy into the path of an unmarked Gabriel Jesus, who was left with the simple task of tapping the ball into an unguarded net as the home side appealed in vain for offside.

With the visitors firmly in control tempers began to fray amongst the home side with Jerry St. Juste, Kramer and Vilhena all going into the book of Polish referee, Szymon Marciniak as the temporary respite of the interval approached.

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Despite Guardiola’s side noticeably easing off the throttle after the break as they turned their attention towards a potentially tricky trip to Watford on Saturday, their hosts never really looked like getting onto the scoresheet and with the visitors threatening to further extend their advantage with every attack, it came as little surprise when the away side made it four and effectively ended the game as a contest shortly after the hour mark – Stones heading home his second of the night from close range with sixty three minutes on the clock after being picked out by Kevin De Bruyne following a neat give-and-go between the Belgian international and David Silva on the left.

Having been thoroughly out-played in front of their own fans, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side face a daunting trip to Naples on 26th September in their next UEFA Champions League engagement.

But before that hurdle comes one of the showpiece encounters of the Dutch season as Feyenoord make the trip to Eindhoven to face PSV on Sunday – a game which offers van Bronckhorst’s charges a welcome opportunity to erase the memory of what was an underwhelming performance in the club’s first UEFA Champions League group stage fixture for fifteen years.

 Man of the Match: John Stones (Manchester City)        


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Danes conquer but Ajax grab vital away goal





FC Copenhagen took a step closer to a place in the quarter finals of the UEFA Europa League after an Andreas Cornelius strike just short of the hour mark edged the Danish champions ahead of four-time European champions, Ajax in the 1st leg of their round of 16 encounter.

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However, Peter Bosz’s men become the first side to score at the Telia Parken since 20th August and, in the process, snagged a priceless away goal ahead of the return leg at the Amsterdam ArenA on 16th March.

The Ajax coach was forced to shuffle his cards ahead of this round of 16 encounter with both Colombian centre half, Davinson Sanchez and Dutch international, Joel Veltman ruled out through suspension for the visitors. Having featured against Groningen at the weekend, 17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt retained his place at centre half alongside the returning Nick Viergever, while Bosz also drafted in Kenny Tete – who was again free for selection following his dismissal in the 1st leg of Ajax’s round of 32 tie with Legia Warsaw which had seen the Dutch international sit out the return leg in which the Lancers had squeezed past the Polish champions by virtue of a solitary strike by Viergever.

Having lost just once this season in all competitions – coming up short against reigning Premier League champions, Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the UEFA Champions League on 18th October, Stale Solbakken’s side roared out of the blocks and caught their illustrious visitors cold –taking the lead with less than a minute on the clock after a well-weighted dink over the top of the visitor’s shuffled rear guard by William Kvist found the untracked run of Rasmus Falk Jensen who took the pass in his stride before firing the ball hard and low across the face of Ajax’s exposed ‘keeper, Andre Onana and into the back of the net to put the hosts into the ascendancy with just 27 seconds on the clock.

With Moroccan winger, Youssef Toutouh having already dragged a pair of chances wide of Onana’s right hand upright, the hosts – who finished third in a UEFA Champions League group that, in addition to Leicester, had included Porto and Club Brugge to earn a place in European club football’s second tier competition, where they had negotiated their way past Bulgarian outfit, Ludogorets in the round of 32, threatened to extend their lead further just short of the half hour mark but Paraguayan forward, Federico Santander failed to make Viergever pay for a sloppy piece of distribution – firing the ball wide of Onana’s left hand upright after finding himself one-on-one with the visiting glovesman.

With the away side having immediately found themselves on the back foot, Peter Bosz’s men rallied admirably as the opening half wore on and struck an important mental blow in the tie by becoming the first side to score at the Telia Parken since a strike by Christian Bassogog ultimately earned a point for AaB in a Danish Superliga encounter against the reigning Danish champions on 20th August – Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore cutting in from the right and slipping in Ajax skipper, Davy Klaassen whose cross was finished superbly by Kasper Dolberg – the Danish starlet making his compatriots pay with a spectacular bicycle kick despite the attentions of Peter Ankersen on the edge of the box with 32 minutes on the clock.

The sides would go in all square at the break despite Falk Jensen having the ball in the back of the visitor’s net again just before the break – the 25-year-old seeing his effort ruled out after Santander had been adjudged to be in an offside position during the build-up by referee, Artur Dias Soares.

Yet, this would prove to be just a temporary reprieve for the 33-time Dutch champions who – despite making a bright start to the second half found themselves trailing once more as their hosts re-established their superiority just short of the hour mark – Ankersen burning off the attentions of Daley Sinkgraven on the right before picking out Cornelius who – having out-muscled de Ligt, beat Onana with a towering header in the 59th minute.

With both sides having squandered chances in the closing stages, the visitors did have the ball in the back of their host’s net three minutes from time. Yet, Dolberg’s 87th minute header was ruled out by referee, Soares who adjudged that the 19-year-old had pushed Uros Matic in the back prior to beating Robin Olsen in the Copenhagen goal.

The decision didn’t sit well with the Ajax players – least of all skipper, Klaassen who talked himself into the book of the Portuguese official – earning a yellow card that will now rule the influential Dutch international out of the return leg in Amsterdam in a week’s time.

Man of the Match: Uros Matic


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Russians eliminate second Dutch side out of UCL

FC Rostov sealed qualification to the latter stages of a major European competition for the first time in club history after holding former European Cup winners, PSV Eindhoven to a goalless draw at the Philips Stadion on Tuesday evening reports Steven Davies.

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The Russian side who had also knocked out Ajax at the playoff round of the competition earlier in the season came into this encounter with the back-to-back Eredivisie champions off the back of a remarkable success over Bayern Munich and, despite a place in the latter stages of European club football’s elite competition being out of reach, knew that a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League would be theirs as long as they avoided defeat in Eindhoven.

 For Phillip Cocu’s men, who came into this meeting propping up Group D with just the solitary point earned from the 2-2 draw in Rostov on 28th September to their name, nothing less than a win would suffice as the reigning champion’s indifferent league form had seen them fall six points off the pace set by title rivals, Feyenoord and Ajax and tumble out of the KNVB Beker in embarrassing fashion at the hands of newly promoted Sparta Rotterdam.

Following a lacklustre goalless draw at relegation threatened, Roda on Saturday evening, the PSV coach opted to switch to a back three with Joshua Brenet coming in at the expense of Siem de Jong while Steven Bergwijn partnered Luuk de Jong up front with Gaston Pereiro surprisingly dropping to the bench.

Cocu’s opposite number, Ivan Danilyants meanwhile unsurprisingly opted for the same eleven that had so famously seen off Bayern Munich in their last outing in the competition on 23rd November which included a front two of Dmitriy Poloz and Iranian international, Sardar Azmoun who, if you include the qualifying rounds, had netted nine goals between them in the competition thus far this season.

Despite their need for victory, the home side failed to create a clean cut chance until a minute into added time at the end of the first half when French centre half, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin climbed highest to get on the end of an Oleksandr Zinchenko corner only to send his header wide of Soslan Dzhanaev’s near post.

The visitors meanwhile had shown little by way of attacking intent themselves with the Russian’s best chance falling to Poloz – the Russian international losing Isimat-Mirin before dragging his attempt wide of Jeroen Zoet’s near post seven minutes before the interval.

Coming into this crunch encounter, the statistics certainly favoured a close contest of few chances with PSV boasting the best defence in the Eredivisie but also the worst goal-scoring record of any of the top seven sides in the Netherlands, while despite only CSKA having conceded less goals than Rostov in the Russian top flight this term the visitors had scored just 19 times in 17 league games.

As such it came as little surprise that the first shot on target from either side didn’t arrive until Azmoun worked Zoet in the 67th minute – the Dutch international ’keeper having to be on his toes to parry a snap-shot from the edge of the box.

Frustration began to creep in as the former European Cup winners continued to find chances hard to come by – Steven Bergwijn seeing his deflected effort easily fielded by Rostov glovesman, Dzhanaev with a quarter of an hour left to play before substitute, Luciano Narsingh got free down the right and fired the ball across the face of the goal to the feet of fellow replacement, Siem de Jong whose fierce effort was repelled by the visiting ‘keeper.

With time rapidly becoming the enemy, the hosts had one final golden opportunity to clinch a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League when another substitute, Gaston Pereiro got on the end of a lofted ball by Brenet in the visitor’s box – the Uruguayan being denied by an alert Dzhanaev who was quickly off his line to snuff out the opportunity before Bart Ramselaar saw his goal-bound follow-up cleared off the line by Vladimir Granat in the 86th minute.

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However, as so often this season, PSV’s inability to find the back of the net would ultimately prove their undoing as Rostov progressed into the latter stages of a major European club competition for the first time in club history at the expense of the reigning Eredivisie title-holders.

Man of the Match: Miha Mevlja  


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German powerhouses too strong for PSV

Five time European champions, Bayern Munich eased past PSV Eindhoven – hitting the Dutch champions for four with Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben all on target for Carlo Ancelotti’s side at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening reports Steven Davies.




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On a cold and wet night in Munich, PSV Eindhoven, whose sole European Cup triumph in 1988 had come on German soil – in Stuttgart, where they had overthrown Portuguese powerhouse, Benfica on penalties, endured a torrid opening – Thomas Muller dragging his finish wide of Dutch international ‘keeper, Jeroen Zoet’s left hand upright as early as the third minute following a rampaging run and pull back from Austrian full back, David Alaba.

The four-man PSV defence and right back, Joshua Brenet in particular, had no answer for the Bayern front three, nor the elusive Alaba who found himself unrestricted in the visitor’s area once again in the 11th minute but unable to keep his effort down after a penetrating run by Dutch international, Arjen Robben.

Despite coming into this encounter off the back of a five match dry spell in front of goal in all competitions, Robert Lewandowski tested Zoet’s reflexes on a number of occasions throughout the half and, following the Dutch international ‘keeper’s denial of the Polish marksman in the 13th minute, a quickly taken corner from Arjen Robben found Thomas Muller inexplicably unmarked at the near post – the German international beating a furious, Zoet at the second time of asking to put Carlo Ancelotti’s men into the ascendancy with only his second goal of the season in all competitions.

Alaba continued to terrorize the PSV backline and he would play a key role in the host’s second goal of the evening – the Austrian international’s deflected cross from the left finding the head of German international, Joshua Kimmich unmarked at the back post for the 21-year-old to double the host’s advantage and seemingly end the game as a meaningful contest, such had been the German champions’ dominance to that point of the match.

However, despite having not having had a single attempt on goal in the first 38 minutes of the contest, the ball suddenly ended up in the back of Bayern ‘keeper, Manuel Neuer’s net – Gaston Pereiro wrongly adjudged by Scottish referee, William Collum to have been offside when receiving the ball prior to beating the German international ‘keeper.

Yet, Phillip Cocu’s men weren’t to be denied and, just a minute later, Luciano Narsingh left the Bayern rear guard for dead having been sent streaking away from the host’s back line by an incisive pass from Pereiro before flashing a spectacular drive past Neuer into the top right hand corner of the net to reignite the game as a contest.

Both teams came into this encounter in indifferent form in their respective domestic competitions – reigning Dutch title holders, PSV lagging behind current Eredivisie pacesetters, Feyenoord by nine points following a disappointing draw at home to Heracles on Saturday evening, while, like their opponents, Bayern were also without a win in their last three matches in all competitions, although unlike their Dutch counterparts,  Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain atop the Bundesliga standings – two points ahead of both FC Koln and RB Leipzig despite having dropped points at home to Koln and away at Eintracht Frankfurt in their last two league outings.

Despite their faltering form in the Eredivisie and having taken just one point from a possible six thus far in group play in the UEFA Champions League, the visitors began the second stanza where they had ended the first – Uruguayan, Pereiro drawing a point blank save from Germany’s number one in the 52nd minute.

However, any momentum that the Dutch champions had built up early in the second half was brought to an abrupt halt just before the hour when former PSV player, Robben weaved his way through the Eindhoven backline and drew a save from Zoet whose parry fell invitingly onto the head of Lewandowski – the Polish international making no mistake with the goal at his mercy.

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With the resistance of the away side finally broken, the hosts, who came into the encounter with Phillip Cocu’s men off the back of a surprise loss in Spain to Atletico Madrid in their last UEFA Champions League fixture, continued to press – Zoet denying both Muller and then Robben before the Dutch maestro finally put the game to bed when he beat an onrushing Zoet to a lofted ball into the PSV box from the boot of Spanish international, Thiago Alcântara – sending a looping header over the Dutch international stopper and into the unguarded net to round off an incredible period of possession by the German champions that contained over thirty consecutive passes.

Realistically, with both Atletico and Bayern looking in imperious form in group play, it would appear that Phillip Cocu’s men must now focus on securing third place in the group and with it a ticket into the latter stages of the UEFA Europa League, with the visit of Rostov to the Philips Stadion on 6th December taking on extra significance.

Man of the Match: Arjen Robben    



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