Champions League Tuesday predictions: Big names join the party
The second qualifying round of the Champions League gets under way on Tuesday as clubs look to move one step closer to the group stage.
The likes of Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, FC Midtjylland and Dynamo Kyiv have joined the competition with three rounds to go until they reach the competition proper.
Teams failing to win their tie at this stage will be given another chance to keep their European dreams alive by dropping into the Europa League qualifying third round.
FC Midtjylland vs AEK Larnaca (Tuesday, 6.45pm BST)
Midtjylland made it through to the Champions League group stage in 2020-21 but they failed to get beyond the third qualifying round last season and ended up in the Europa League.
The Danish club, who finished second in the Superliga last season, will hope to better that performance this term and they look well placed to at least get through to the next stage after being drawn against Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca.
Jose Luis Oltra's side are making their debut in the Champions League this campaign and that lack of experience could see them fall short in this tie.
Midtjylland ended the 2021-22 campaign in fine form, enjoying an 11-game unbeaten run across all competitions, which culminated in them winning the Danish Cup and finishing second in the league.
Brazilian attacker Evander was comfortably the club's top scorer across all competitions last term, netting 17 times, and the 24-year-old could prove to be their main source of threat in front of goal when they welcome AEK.
Unbeaten in seven games at home across all competitions, Midtjylland will be confident of earning a first-leg advantage against a side that has lost four of their last six away games in European competition.
Midtjylland should not encounter too many problems in trying to overcome their rivals in this first-leg assignment.
They will be keen to put this tie to bed as quickly as possible and, when considering AEK have won just two of their last six away games across all competitions, it is hard to make a case for them causing an upset.
Ludogorets Razgrad vs Shamrock Rovers (Tuesday, 6.45pm BST)
Ludogorets Razgrad and Shamrock Rovers both eased through their first qualifying round ties with 3-0 aggregate victories over Sutjeska Niksic and Hibernians respectively.
Ludogorets last reached the Champions League group stage in 2016-17 and will be hoping to return to Europe's elite competition.
Shamrock have already bettered last season's run of exiting the Champions League in the first qualifying round, however they have only once made it beyond the second qualifying round.
Ludogorets kicked off their domestic season on July 8 and they have earned successive victories to take their place at the top of the standings.
They have won each of their last five games at home across all competitions and look likely to extend that streak at the expense of their Irish opponents.
The Dublin club were held to a goalless draw on the road against Maltese outfit Hibernians in the previous round and this step up in class could see them come out on the losing side.
Ludogorets tend to be extremely difficult to beat on their own patch and they have won each of their last three matches at home to nil across all competitions.
Shamrock's performance in Malta last time out suggests they are in for a difficult evening, therefore a win to nil for the hosts looks the way to go.
Linfield vs Bodo/Glimt (Tuesday, 7.45pm BST)
Linfield fell to a 1-0 loss in the first leg of their first qualifying round tie against Welsh outfit The New Saints, however they managed to secure progression courtesy of an extra-time win back on home soil.
Meanwhile, Bodo/Glimt edged past Klaksvik of the Faroe Islands thanks to a 4-3 aggregate triumph after losing the second leg 3-1.
Tuesday will be the first meeting between these two clubs but Linfield have faced Norwegian opposition in the past, losing 6-0 on aggregate to Rosenborg in the Champions League first qualifying round in 2019-20.
Despite their struggles in the previous round, Bodo/Glimt do have plenty of quality within their ranks and that was clear to see when they reached the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League last season.
The 2021 Eliteserien champions have won four of their last six games on the road across all competitions and head to Northern Ireland with a positive mindset.
The Eliteserien campaign is in full swing with Bodo/Glimt currently sitting fourth and just three points adrift of the European places.
Playing competitive football regularly should stand them in good stead as they gear up to face a Linfield side that ended their league campaign in April.
Goals could well be on the agenda in this one if Bodo/Glimt's performance in the previous round is anything to go by.
Over 2.5 goals were scored in both legs against Klaksvik and it is also worth highlighting that they are the highest scorers in their domestic league.