Champions League Second Qualifying Round

Champions League

The Champions League qualification process rolls on and a number of ties in the second round of qualifying still have plenty to be resolved following some entertaining first leg games.

Back the Bhoys to double up

1967 European Cup winners Celtic are the sole remaining contenders from these shores before the English clubs get involved in the group stages and look well on their way to a third straight trip to the pools.

Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Rosenberg saw them come from a goal down to triumph and they will be buoyed by what was another improving performance after their rusty showings in the previous round against Alashkert.

They are one of the teams who know who they will play in the next stage, with Greek outfit AEK Athens waiting in third qualifying.

Celtic won 1-0 when these two met in Trondheim 12 months ago and are a very handy 2.40 to repeat the trick on Wednesday.

Odsonne Edouard has looked particularly sharp so far this season and after netting three times already in the competition, could be one to look out for following his permanent move from Paris Saint-Germain.

Improving Ajax cruise through

Another former winner in Ajax also look good to progress after defeating Sturm Graz 2-0 in their first leg.

The Dutch giants look to have recruited well, with the return of Daley Blind particularly impressive, while Dusan Tadic will help make up for the creativity lost by Justin Kluivert’s departure to Roma.

There is still talk of Frenkie de Jong leaving for Barcelona but for once it looks I Lancieri will keep hold of most of their best players, much to the relief of boss Erik ten Hag.

The winners of this tie will meet Standard Liege in the third qualifying round and Ajax are another team who look a good price to win at 2.00.

Having Blind and Tadic around bodes well from an experience point of view, especially after being absent from European football last term following disappointing performances in qualifying for both this competition and the Europa League.

Mighty Midtjylland the best of the rest

Kazakhstan is always a tough place to go but Midtjylland emerged with plenty of credit from Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Astana.

They too have been without European football, at least in the group stages, for the last two seasons, but should give their chances a boost with a victory at 2.00 on Wednesday.

Dinamo Zagreb also provide plenty of value at 2.60 to win away at Hapoel Beer Sheva on Tuesday. The Croatians were simply far too good for their Israeli opponents, winning what was tipped to be a tight game 5-0 at the Stadion Maksimir.

The only conundrum for Nened Bjelica is whether to rest some of his stars, but even then the gulf between the clubs means it should be the Plavi who face either Astana or Midtjylland in the next round.