On Wednesday night, Dundalk and Qarabag go head-to-head at Oriel Park in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the Champions League.
Both teams had relatively tight ties in the first qualifying round. Dundalk made it through by beating Latvia opponents Riga on penalty kicks after both legs of their tie finished goalless.
Qarabag’s qualification was slightly more convincing, as they saw off Albanian outfit Partizani Tirana 2-0 on aggregate, with the first leg finishing goalless before Azerbaijani side won the second leg 2-0 on home soil. This clash should offer both sides a bigger challenge than their last matches in the competition.
When it comes to Champions League experience, the visitors certainly have the upper hand here. In fact, they have become mainstays of the early rounds of the competition.
In 2017, they even made it through to the group stages, where they faced the likes of Chelsea, Roma and Atletico Madrid, picking up highly creditable draws against Diego Simeone’s team.
They have also been very hard to beat in the Champions League of late, as the visitors have suffered just one defeat in their last eight European outings.
Qarabag have built their relative success in this competition on keeping things tight in defence, which has contributed to under 2.5 goals scored in eight of their last nine games in the Champions League.
Despite having a stellar domestic record in recent seasons, Dundalk have struggled for results in this competition. The Irish team has now failed to win any of their last six games in the Champions League in regulation time.
The home side has though drawn their last five games in the Champions League in 90 minutes. Just like the visitors, their recent matches in this competition have been low-scoring, as all of their last six matches in the Champions League have produced under 2.5 goals.
PREDICTION : DRAW 0-0
ACCUMULATOR TIP : QARABAG DOUBLE CHANCE.