Galatasaray, one of Turkey’s most successful football clubs, is set to face off against Molde, a Norwegian unit, in the final round of the UEFA Champions League playoffs. With both teams vying for a spot in the group stage, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Turk Telekom Arena is one of the most hostile sports venues in the world, and apart from having a one-goal lead from the opening event, Galata will have a big support from its crowd. The positive thing for Molde here is the lack of any pressure, as everyone already wrote off the Norwegian champs.
Galatasaray (-175) has massive ambitions this year and their transfer window activities back up this claim. After landing Wilfried Zaha, they signed Hakim Ziyech, while before that, they retained Mauro Icardi and signed RB Leipzig’s Angelino.
Galata posted four victories and two draws in six competitive appearances this year. While everyone believes that the attack is the team’s top power, the stats show a completely opposite thing. The defense hasn’t allowed a goal in four of those encounters, locking up the area in front of Muslera.
Though there were some problems in Norway, the offense, primarily Icardi, covered up all that. Galata has a very good result from the opening leg, yet we don’t think this team would care too much about that.
Molde (+425) has been in full competitive rhythm for a long time, as their championship began way earlier than in the rest of the continent. After a strong campaign start, they slowed down at the worst possible moment.
The Norwegian champs had a fantastic streak in June and July, but in the past four events, they won only once, which was in the Champions League against Ki Klaksvik. It was the second leg of their contest, with Molde going through the extra times to reach 2-0 and beat the team from Faroe Islands.
Both of their UCL trips in these qualifiers have ended with losses. The first was against HJK in Helsinki, 2-1, and the second vs. the above-mentioned Klaksvik, 1-0.
According to all the disposable info, Ziyech and Zaha won’t debut in this one.
On the other side, there isn’t any relevant news on Molde’s injuries and suspensions. We’ll try to update this section as soon as some reliable info shows up.
Head to Head Games
The first leg saw Galata’s 3-2 win on the road. It was Molde who took the lead after only eight minutes, but the Turks quickly responded with two fast goals midway through the first half. Molde leveled, yet Icardi netted a game-winner in the contest’s final moments.
Molde’s performances on the road are at least 50% weaker than at home, and even though they have no pressure, Turk Telekom Arena will eat the Norwegian unit. They aren’t accustomed to playing in this atmosphere, and more importantly, Galata is a better team, which will only make things worse for this unit. Our pick is Galatasaray’s victory at -175, and for those who want higher profits, go with Galata covering a 1.5-goal spread.
Pick: Galatasaray wins -175
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.