Beer boys FC Copenhagen to bring cheers in Champions League

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The Danes don’t do Champions League progression regularly, but if FC Copenhagen did pip Juventus and Galatasaray to second in Group B, it would probably be the best in the world.

Stale Solbakken’s side are rank outsiders at 14/1 to reach the knock-out stages of this season’s Champions League but a win over the Turkish giants has given them more than a glimmer of hope.

Throw in the Old Lady’s failure to pick up three points in Europe this season, with three draws and a defeat in their four matches, and there are reasons to be optimistic about the Scandinavian’s prospects.

You only have to roll the clock back three seasons to find the last time the Danes upset the odds in Europe’s premier competition, finishing second from a group containing Barcelona, Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos.

That run included a commendable 1-1 draw with the Catalans and a 2-0 away win over the Greek side and if results continue in the same vein we could yet be in for a repeat.

It’s no coincidence that Copenhagen’s previous run to the knock-out stages came during Solbakken’s first stint at the club and with the former Wolves managerial flop now back in the Lions’ hot seat, confidence is high.

The victory over Gala saw the Danes extend their current winning run to three games in all competitions and while next up is a trip to Italy, Antonio Conte’s team hardly have a glowing track record in the Champions League over the past few years.

Juve head into the game off the back of six without a win in Europe and last season were even held to a 1-1 draw at home by Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage.

A draw or even an unlikely win in Turin could set things up nicely for their final fixture against a Real Madrid side who have already qualified for the last-16.

On paper it might look a tough ask, but manager Carlo Ancelotti may well rest the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, plus with Los Blancos winning just three of their last nine away games on the continent, Copenhagen could fancy their chances of progression.

With the Dane’s last home defeat in the group stage coming way back in 2007, stranger things have happened.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.