Sparta Prague hosts Rapid Vienna in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifications. The first match in Vienna saw Sparta taking the lead, but allowing the hosts to flip the result and post a valuable victory. The new rule that eliminates an away goal means that Sparta now needs to win by at least two goals in order to eliminate the Austrian team. Any other outcome would see Rapid in the next stage. The game at Generali Arena in Prague, on Wednesday, July 28.
Sparta Prague (+100) opened the Czech league with a win over Sigma Olomouc at home, 3-2. They were a far better opponent than the visitors from the East of the country, yet somehow allowed two goals. Sigma scored in the third minute, opening the show and stunning the hosts, but everything went back to normal with Sparta netting three times in a row and taking over the control of the contest.
This was the ninth match of the season, including the friendly ones, and only one during that span didn’t go over 2.5 goals. Furthermore, seven were with four or more hits, meaning that Sparta plays offensive and attractive football.
They are always looking for a way to score regardless of the opponent and the result, risking to concede but not worrying about that too much.
Rapid Vienna (+140) had a completely different start of the domestic championship, as they lost to Hartberg at home. The final result was 0-2 for the guests who were +650 underdogs before the event.
The Austrians haven’t allowed too many goals during the preseason, keeping their net intact in three of four games that preceded the first leg against Slavia. After that, we’ve seen them facing certain problems and allowing the rivals too many scoring chances.
Hartberg, for instance, had six shots on target, and 14 shots overall, while having the ball only 41% of the entire time. If that repeats against Sparta, things won’t be pleasant for the Green and Whites.
Sparta’s players are all available for this match, and the same applies to the guests from Vienna.
Head to Head Matches
As said, the first leg ended with Rapid’s 2-1 triumph. Ladislav Krejci scored an early goal, following just 180 seconds of play, which surprised 14,000 fans at Ernst Happel stadium. However, Rapid turned up the heat, and as time went by, it was evident that Sparta’s net won’t stay intact. Christoph Knasmüllner broke the ice for the home side, in the 63rd minute, and the same player once again scored seven minutes later, setting the final result.
We are going with the same pick as in the first game, which is over 2.5 goals. Simply these teams don’t know how to play differently but are offensive, plus, Sparta needs to chase the result, meaning that the Czechs will go out firing from all weapons. Rapid won’t be quiet and without a response, which is why three or more goals are the most logical solution. The odds on that are -125.
Pick: Over 2.5 goals -125
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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.