Our last round of predictions almost produced a full house, but the Gold Cup game draw spoiled the party. This week’s betting tips will feature the preliminary matches for this year’s UEFA Champions League.
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Here are two featured games for this week:
Atletic Club d’Escaldes vs. Buducnost Podgorica
Champions League preseason play begins on Tuesday, just a few short weeks after the 2022-23 season’s champions were crowned in Istanbul. Atletic Club d’Escaldes will face Buducnost Podgorica.
Kopavogsvollur Stadium in Iceland will host a four-team playoff featuring the champions of Andorra and Montenegro.
Both Atletic d’Escaldes and Buducnost are competing in the Champions League preliminary rounds this week to advance to the first qualifying round proper in Friday’s final.
The winner will have a chance to face established teams like Ludogorets and Ferencvaros in the first round of the playoffs. The other two teams involved in that process are Tre Penne of San Marino and playoff hosts Breidablik.
There is a lot at risk when the mini-tournament kicks off in Kopavogur since the three losing teams will be moved to the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.
Atletic, the reigning champions of Andorra, won the Primera Divisio last season after returning to the top division for the first time in four years. The club managed by former Barcelona youth player and current Swansea City left-back Fede Bessone won the league title by two points over local rivals Inter d’Escalde, winning six of their final eight league matches.
Unlike their lower-seeded opponents, Montenegrin champions Buducnost have been participating in UEFA competitions regularly since their independence from Serbia. This will be their third trip to the Champions League in as many years.
With six national championships under their belt, they are also the best club in Montenegro when it comes to European qualification, having played more seasons and matches in European competition than any other team from the Balkan nation after claiming the Intertoto Cup in 1981.
Last season, Buducnost had a formidable challenge when they attempted to unseat Sutjeska as First League champions. Sutjeska is the Podgorica club’s fiercest domestic opponent.
Tre Penne vs. Breidablik
This week, Iceland will host the preliminary rounds of the Champions League, with the semi-finals and final taking place on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. The winners will advance to the first qualifying round proper.
There is a lot on the line for Breidablik when they host the tournament in Kopavogur since the three lowest-placed clubs will be moved to the second qualifying stage of the Europa Conference League.
Although reaching the 2024 Wembley final is an impossibility for the Icelandic champions, qualifying for the Champions League group stage would be a significant achievement (though an improbable one, given the caliber of the other teams in the tournament).
Breidablik, based just south of Reykjavik, won their second national championship last season and earned another shot at the big time after losing in the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League the previous two summers to Aberdeen and then Istanbul Basaksehir.
In 2022, they won the Icelandic championship by a wide margin against KA, and after 13 rounds of the current season, they are in third place in the rankings while defending their title.
Recent results for Oskar Thorvaldsson’s squad in European play have been less than ideal, with a 2-2 draw against FH and a 5-2 loss to local rivals HK following the team’s run to the cup semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Tre Penne defeated Faetano 2-0 at the end of April to clinch the Campionato Sammarinese title, but SS Virtus defeated them in the final of the Coppa Titano.
Stefano Ceci’s team won the San Marino calcio championship by a single point, making up for losing the title by the same margin a year prior. They will now travel to Europe.
Shortly after leading his team to domestic glory in 2022-23, Ceci re-signed for another year as Biancazzurri manager, and his team will begin the 2023-24 season with a match in which they are clear underdogs: not only are Tre Penne matched up against the playoff hosts, but they have won just one of their 20 UEFA competition games to date.
Picks for Today, June 27-29th, 2023
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