The 2017/18 UEFA Champions League tournament is well under way and the competition has reached the third qualifying stage. Teams are starting to believe they can reach the lucrative group stages and four matches separate them and the potential of meeting the great teams in Europe.
There are some tough teams in the third round of qualifying this season and FC Copenhagen are one of them. The Danes reached the group stages last season, finishing third in their group and qualifying for the Europa League, which was a decent performance.
Their opponents in the third qualifying round this season are FK Vardar of Macedonia. They have never played in the Champions League group stages and will be hoping to make history by winning this tie.
FK Vardar Form
The first leg of the tie will take place at the Nacionalna Arena Filip II Makedonski in Skopje. Having drawn Malmo in the previous round, FK Vardar were given little hope of progressing but having picked up a 1-1 draw in Sweden they gave themselves a chance at home.
FK Vardar took advantage of being at home to win the match 3-1 and progress 4-2 on aggregate, which was a fantastic result.
FK Vardar are good at home and have lost just 1 of their previous 22 competitive games at the Arena Filip II. They went undefeated at home on their way to the Macedonian league title last season.
FC Copenhagen Form
The Danish champions endured a difficult tie in the previous round of Champions League qualifying against MSK Zilina. They won the first leg away from home 3-1 and everything was going smoothly but an early goal for MSK Zilina in the second leg changed things and the away team went on to win the match 2-1.
FC Copenhagen won through 4-3 on aggregate but were not as convincing as the result in the first leg seems to suggest.
In the Danish league, this season FC Copenhagen have won 1 and drawn 1 of their 2 games and sit in third place. They gave a good account of themselves in the Champions League group stages last season and conceded no more than 1 goal in any away group game.
FK Vardar have a clean bill of health for this game and no suspension worries. Therefore, expect to see Brazilian striker Jonathan Balotelli start up-front with support from his fellow countryman Juan Alves.
FC Copenhagen have two key players missing in defender Peter Andersen and midfielder Rasmus Falk who are both injured. Having scored a goal on the weekend and a hattrick in the previous round of the Champions League, Andrija Pavlovic should start in attack for the Danes.
Top Betting Tips
Given their superior pedigree in this competition, FC Copenhagen start as favourites for this game but FK Vardar will be confident at home, especially after their previous result. The draw seems the best option in the winner market, which is available at 12/5 with Ladbrokes.
Neither team managed to keep a clean sheet in their previous two matches, so there should be chances in this game. Both teams to score is 10/11 with Skybet and the draw with both teams to score is 15/4.
Looking at the correct score market and the 1-1 draw at 6/1 with Ladbrokes looks like a good bet.