The road to the group stages of the Champions League continues this week and there are some big names in action. The second qualifying round first leg ties are due to take place and on Wednesday 24th July we have a meeting between FK Crvena Zvezda and HJK Helsinki to enjoy.
Both teams are coming through the league path as they won their domestic league title last season. FK Crvena Zvezda won the Serbian SuperLiga by a 12 point margin while HJK Helsinki had a 16 point cushion as they topped the 2018 Finnish Veikkausliiga.
FK Crvena Zvezda started the defence of their domestic league title of the weekend, beating Javor Ivanjica 2-0 at home. They have come through the first qualifying round of the Champions League and were held to a 0-0 draw at Sūduva before beating them at home 2-1 to progress.
Trends show FK Crvena Zvezda have won one, drawn two and lost two of their last five Champions League matches. They played in the group stages last season and managed to defeat eventual winners Liverpool 2-0 at home, which was a fantastic result.
FK Crvena Zvezda have lost only one of their last seven home Champions League games, which was against Paris Saint-Germain. They have won four and drawn three, keeping five clean sheets and have proven tough to beat at the Stadion Rajko Mitić in recent years.
HJK Helsinki travel to Belgrade having been held to a 1-1 draw at Ilves on the weekend in the Finnish Veikkausliiga. The season is well under way in Finland and HJK Helsinki are in 5th place but only 3 points off the lead.
They started their 2019/20 Champions League campaign in the first qualifying round where they met HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands. HJK Helsinki were always the favourites to progress from that tie but having won the first leg at home 3-0, they were held to a 2-2 away.
Trends show HJK Helsinki have lost only one of their last six Champions League matches and that came in qualifying last season when they were beaten 2-1 at home by BATE Borisov. They are undefeated in their last three on the road in the Champions League, drawing two and winning one but none of those games were against a team of the same quality as FK Crvena Zvezda.
Team news and FK Crvena Zvezda are set to be without Portuguese striker Tomane who is injured. They also have doubts over the fitness of Spanish midfielder Canas and defender Radovan Pankov.
HJK Helsinki make the trip to Serbia with four players on the treatment table. Harmeet Singh, Joonas Vahtera, Henri Toivomaki and Lassi Lappalainen could all miss the game.
FK Crvena Zvezda have a good recent home record in the Champions League and the 2-0 win over Liverpool shows what they can do. This could be a tough night at the office for HJK Helsinki.
PREDICTION : RED STAR 2-1 FT @ 1.28
ACCUMULATOR TIP : RED STAR FT WIN
MULTI CORRECT SCORE : RED STAR 2-0 / 2-1 / 3-0 / 3-1