The World Cup may have only ended on Sunday but there’s little rest for the likes of FK Partizan, Debrecen and Northern Ireland league champions Cliftonville with the Champions League qualifiers in full swing this week.
And while Celtic will undoubtedly take centre stage on UK shores, there are plenty of games featuring obscure teams and fallen European giants that are sure to take your fancy.
With a few high-scoring encounters between mismatched opponents predicted, here’s a tempting fourfold that is reliant on goals, goals and more goals.
Hungarian champions for the fourth time in six years last season, Debrecen head to Belfast looking to continue Cliftonville’s miserable record in this competition with the Northern Irish team losing 3-0 at home to Celtic this time last year.
A recent 1-0 defeat at home to Welsh minnows The New Saints was far from the ideal preparation and with the Hungarian’s boosted by a recent 4-2 friendly success over Lyon, there looks to be only one winner here.
European Cup semi-finalists back in 1992, Sparta Praha boast plenty of pedigree within their squad with the likes of Radoslav Kovac and Marek Matějovský previously plying their trade with West Ham United and Reading respectively.
The Czechs had a fine goalscoring record at the backend of last season, with three or more scored in six of their last seven league fixtures. That run continued with a 4-0 friendly win over Basel and with Levadia winning just one of their last six away games in Europe, a big home victory looks guaranteed.
The club made famous recently for producing Barcelona-bound youngster Alen Halilovic, Dinamo’s current squad is another boasting plenty of experience in the form of ex-Croatia internationals like Josip Simunic and Jerko Leko who should give them a solid base to attack from.
And attack they will, with the Zagreb giants racking up 20 goals in their last seven league fixtures, a record that should stand them in good stead for the visit of Zalgiris who are winless in three on the road and were hammered 4-1 away by Rangers in their last game in this competition.
Desperate to progress in Europe after several years in the doldrums, former Galatasaray and Celta Vigo star Sasa Ilic remains the main man in Belgrade and could help fire Partizan to a morale-boosting home win over vastly inferior opposition.
With three goals scored in their two previous friendly appearances Partizan should pick off an HB team that has conceded between four and five goals in five of their last seven games played away from home in Europe.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.