PSV’s Yorbe Vertessen, right, comforts PSV’s Donyell Malen after the Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match between PSV and Olympiacos at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
- The second round of qualifiers for the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League kick-off on Tuesday and Wednesday this week
- Some big names looking to make it into the group stages, including Celtic, PSV Eindhoven and Malmo
- Get the odds, our analysis, and betting prediction below
While the Euros and the Copa America are both still fresh in the memory, the new domestic season in Europe is now well underway and has reached the second qualifying round of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League. The first legs are taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, with some big names looking to make their way into the competition’s lucrative group phase, which still requires two more rounds of two-legged qualifying fixtures plus a two-legged playoff.
We list the games, the odds and offer some best bets for three of them.
UEFA Champions League Qualifying Odds
|Alashkert vs Sheriff Tiraspol||+280||+205||+115|
|Lincoln Red Imps FC vs CFR Cluj||+1300||+575||-475|
|Ferencvaros vs Zalgiris Vilnius||-285||+370||+900|
|Dinamo Zagreb vs Omonia Nicosia||-290||+400||+800|
|Rapid Vienna vs Sparta Prague||+145||+235||+185|
|Celtic vs Midtjylland||+100||+260||+265|
|Kayrat Almaty vs Red Star Belgrade||+245||+205||+130|
|Malmo FF vs HJK Helsinki||-230||+320||+750|
|NS Mura vs Ludogorets Razgrad||+275||+240||+105|
|Slovan Bratislava vs Young Boys||+320||+265||-115|
|PSV Eindhoven vs Galatasaray||-140||+395||+360|
|Legia Warsaw vs Flora Tallinn||-425||+500||+1100|
|Olympiakos vs Neftchi Baku||-500||+600||+1200|
All odds as of July 19th at DraftKings
PSV Eindhoven vs Galatasaray Prediction
These two both have European pedigree and as recently as 2018, PSV played in the Champions League group stage, when they finished bottom of a group that also included Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan. They managed to earn just two points in that campaign, and one season later was dumped out in the qualifying rounds by FC Basel. Since then, they have been participants in the Europa League where last season they made it just to the round-of-32.
𝗦𝗢𝗟𝗗 𝗢𝗨𝗧! 🔴⚪#PSVGAL wordt gespeeld in een uitverkocht Philips Stadion. We kunnen niet wachten! 😍#VooruitPSV #UCL pic.twitter.com/TeeeWp9qv3
— PSV (@PSV) July 19, 2021
Galatasaray too has tasted Champions League group stage action, their last appearance there being in 2019 when they finished bottom of a difficult group that also contained Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, and Club Brugge. The last time they reached the knockout stage was back in 2013-14. Like PSV, they too come into this season’s competition having finished runners-up in their domestic league, and so both will be hopeful of a lucrative group stage place.
This will be very tight, but home advantage may just be enough for the Dutch to take a narrow lead to Turkey for the second leg.
Best bet: PSV to win (-140)
2022 UEFA Champions League Odds Tracker
Celtic vs Midtjylland Prediction
Celtic’s recent record of making it to the group stages is not good, unlike Midtjylland who made it all the way into the competition proper last season. The Bhoys will be looking to make the most of home advantage with 9,000 Glaswegians scheduled to be in attendance to roar on their heroes, but this has often been a double-edged sword with an expectant Celtic park crowd often creating pressure the players struggle to cope with.
✊ 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝘀𝘀.
First game at Paradise 😎#CELPNE 🍀 pic.twitter.com/4agM2ducIq
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) July 17, 2021
Midtjylland has played more soccer of late than Celtic, who are just out of pre-season, but the Danes disappointingly lost 2-1 to OB at the weekend and look a little vulnerable at the back. Their games, especially in the Champions League, tend to be high-scoring, so on paper, this could be an open game.
One change in Europe this season, however, is that away goals no longer count double, so this may impact on both teams, with both keen to still be in the tie ahead of the second leg. On that basis, for me, the value is with the draw at +255, although also worth considering is that 1-1 draw at +800.
Best bet: Celtic vs Midtjylland to draw (+260)
Slovan Bratislava vs Young Boys Prediction
Slovan Bratislava qualified for this tie by beating Shamrock Rovers, from the League of Ireland, but was far from convincing and, in fact, lost the away leg in Ireland 2-1. They will need to find another level of performance if they are to make it past the Swiss, who are in good shape and are looking for a place in the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2018-19.
Kleine YB-Geste an den FC Yverdon Sport: Gratulation zum Aufstieg in die dieci Challenge League.#bscyb pic.twitter.com/FMQlEFL7M4
— BSC YOUNG BOYS (@BSC_YB) July 17, 2021
Young Boys has the distinct advantage of having a more experienced squad than Bratislava, and this could well be decisive in a tie that may end up, over two legs, being closer than the odds suggest. But I take the Swiss to edge this one by the odd goal.
Best bet: Young Boys to win 1-0 (+750)
Once just a sports fanatic, fan-turned-writer Gary Gowers has been featured on European television and radio networks to discuss several professional football clubs. His work can be found in an assortment of publications like The Metro, MyFootballWriter.com, and BBC Radio Norfolk.