The Champions League playoff line-up is complete and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool know their fate. The Reds, five time winners of this competition, will travel to Germany for a tasty clash with Hoffenheim – a side that Klopp knows well from his days at Borussia Dortmund. In addition, Roberto Firmino can also offer some inside information after spending four years at Hoffenheim before moving to Anfield.
At the time of writing, Liverpool are priced at 2/5 to advance to the group stages and plenty of fans will be backing the Reds to go far in the competition. Klopp’s side have enjoyed an excellent pre-season and this could be a year to remember for Liverpool supporters.
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic To Advance Past FC Astana?
The Scottish champions had to work hard to get past Rosenborg in the last round and a two-legged clash with Kazakh side FC Astana is their reward. Brendan Rodgers’ men went the entire domestic campaign unbeaten last season but a European run is an absolute must.
Like Liverpool, Celtic are overwhelming favourites to progress and 888Sport customers can back the Bhoys at 33/100. Taking a lead into the second leg in Kazakhstan will be crucial if Rodgers’ men are to feature in the group stages this season.
Nice vs Napoli: The Pick Of The Round
On paper, this is the tie of the round. Napoli will head into this one as red-hot favourites to proceed to the next stage but Nice are no slouches. The Ligue 1 outfit pushed Monaco and PSG close last season and they could cause plenty of problems for Napoli.
The Italian side have title aspirations of their own this season but Serie A is looking much more competitive this year. Focusing on an impressive European run could be Napoli’s main objective and 1/4 for the Italians to advance is a decent price considering their talent.
Seasoned European Campaigners Olympiakos Should Advance
Olympiakos will be confident of advancing past the relatively unknown HNK Rijeka and you can back the Greek side at 3/5 to do just that. In years gone by, Olympiakos have competed at Europe’s top table on a regular basis and their home form should see them through.
Dinamo Zagreb have usually been the side to represent Croatia but Rijeka pipped their rivals to the domestic crown last season. To reach this round, the minnows advanced past Welsh side The New Saints before beating Red Bull Salzburg on away goals.
CSKA and Sporting Should Also Cruise Through
With the utmost respect to Young Boys and Steaua Bucharest, some teams belong in the Champions League and others don’t. CSKA Moscow and Sporting Lisbon are regular competitors in Europe’s elite club tournament and both should advance to the next round.
CSKA, 4/11 to advance, and Sporting, 1/4 to do the same, could even challenge for a spot in the knockout stages – that is how good they are. They’ve got to navigate the playoff round first but with a decent group draw, both could feature in the last-16...
The first leg of these playoff ties will be played w/c August 14th with the second leg taking place w/c August 21st. Click here for a comprehensive market ahead of the playoff round.