Champions League Tuesday predictions: Shamrock seeking something special

Steve Davies
LiveScore
Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley will need to get the very best out of his side for them to qualify
Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley will need to get the very best out of his side for them to qualify

The second legs of the Champions League second qualifying round take place this week, with the first set of fixtures getting under way today.

Nearly all of the matches are on a knife-edge after last week's opening salvos. 

However, Irish champions Shamrock Rovers will need the night of their lives to wipe out a 3-0 deficit against Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad.

AEK Larnaca vs FC Midtjylland (Tuesday, 4.30pm BST)

Champions League newcomers AEK Larnaca left Denmark with a precious and hard-fought 1-1 draw to give them an edge ahead of the home leg.

They were hanging on for long periods, however, and FC Midtjylland — who boast plenty of European pedigree and made the group stage of the competition in 2020-21 — have more to offer.

The stats

For proof that Midtjylland missed a trick in the home tie, they had 16 corners compared to Larnaca's none but did nothing with them. 

They lost 3-1 at Silkeborg in the Danish Super Liga on Friday, their first league defeat in 10 matches.

It is difficult to analyse Larnaca's current form, with their league campaign in Cyprus not starting until the end of August.

Prediction

Midtjylland could not capitalise on home advantage against a team they knew little about. 

They will now understand much more about Jose Luis Oltra's side and can use that knowledge to ensure there are no slip-ups in Cyprus.

F91 Dudelange vs Pyunik (Tuesday, 6.30pm BST)

F91 Dudelange made the long trip from Luxembourg to Armenia worthwhile, securing a 1-0 win courtesy of Samir Hadji's penalty to bring back to western Europe.

And it cannot be said they were lucky on the night, bossing possession in Yerevan and managing 11 attempts on goal.

The stats

F91 Dudelange's Samir Hadji will hope to find the back of the net once again against Pyunik
F91 Dudelange's Samir Hadji will hope to find the back of the net once again against Pyunik

Dudelange have won eight of their last nine competitive matches, including home and away triumphs over KF Tirana in the previous round.

Pyunik have played three Champions League ties already, two against CFR Cluj and last week against Dudelange, and have not won any of them.

Prediction

Dudelange have done the hard work in Yerevan and their multi-national frontline is quite capable of now finishing the job in front of their own fans.

Shamrock Rovers vs Ludogorets Razgrad (Tuesday, 8pm BST)

Irish champions Shamrock Rovers have it all to do after losing the first leg at Ludogorets Razgrad 3-0, with Cyprus international Pieros Sotiriou bagging two.

The stats

Rovers, who have won their domestic title on 19 occasions, will enter this contest off the back of a 1-1 draw with Drogheda United in the league, which has left them top of the table, seven points clear of second-placed Dundalk.

Ludogorets have played six matches this season in Europe and the Bulgarian top flight, winning five without conceding and drawing the other.

Prediction

Shamrock will have to go down fighting, so expect goals in this tussle. Stephen Bradley's men have left themselves a mountain to climb, and a high-scoring draw could be the outcome.

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