The Champions League’s third qualifying round is upon us and coming as it does at a point in the calendar when some of Europe’s more precocious leagues have already begun going about their business, some sides in action are likely to be more up to speed than others.
Our 8/1 treble backs a trio already in the swing of league action to profit at the expense of rivals likely to still be huffing and puffing out the ring rust.
A trip to the Georgian capital won’t be easy going for the Romanians given the hosts won every single one of their home regular matches last term, but Dinamo haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last six home games – a mixture of friendlies, qualifiers and cup clashes.
The Steaua team that overcame Chelsea 1-0 in European action last season are more than capable of an away win here, having won at Molde and drawn in Stuttgart in 2012/13.
Basel were beaten just three times at St Jakob Park last season and two of those losses came to Champions League regulars Cluj and Chelsea.
Paulo Sousa managed the Israelis to their first Ligat title in a decade last season, but they were far more mortal on the road and the Swiss – some games into their domestic season –should have too much for them here.
Metalist are favourites for this tie having started their domestic business with much the same appetite as they showed when best of the Ukranian rest behind Shakhtar Donetsk in 2012/13 – a season in which they lost just three away games and six in total.
Their hosts were similarly tough to turn over on home turf last term, losing just one regular season game, but once again the Ukranians have a sharpness advantage over their foes having won their opening three league showdowns and they can add PAOK to a list of recent European away scalps that include Rosenborg and Dinamo Bucharest.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.