A tough battle in Croatia last week resulted in Slovenian club Maribor walking away with a valuable away goal, leaving it with a realistic chance of upsetting Dinamo Zagreb.The reigning Slovenian league champions, Maribor, will have a packed house to look forward to when it goes all out against the Croatian title holders today at 7:45pm EDT for a spot in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
The first leg saw a tightly fought contest between the two Balkan squads, with Milan Badelj scoring an own goal for Maribor that drew the Slovenians even but made up for it in the 74th minute to give the Croatians the advantage heading into today’s match.
Unfortunately for Zagreb, it had already agreed to terms with Hamburg of the Bundesliga for the 23-year-old midfielder so the club will need to look to other players to finish the job.
The team has done quite well so far this year, going undefeated in its domestic league as it sits atop the table with a record of 5-0-1 (W-L-T), outscoring its opposition 17-5 in the process. During the Champions League qualifying run, it was able to stave off a difficult challenge from Bulgarian club Ludogorets Razgrad with a 4-3 aggregate score while having a much easier time with Sheriff Tiraspol in the thirrd round, dismantling the Romanian side 5-0 over the two games.
Many bettors will favour the Croatian club to advance to the next round, but to win this game in 90 minutes, bookmakers are only slightly favouring Zagreb with a payout of 2.50.
The Slovenians have fared just as well in league play, also generating an unbeaten record of 5-0-2 while only conceding three goals in those matches. In their home matches during the first two rounds of qualifying in the Champions League, they were able to put together 4-1 victories over a pair of lowly Luxembourgian and Bosnian clubs to reach this point.
Maribor will pay out 2.75 if it is able to pull off the upset, while the draw result pays out the most with 3.30 over at Ladbrokes.com.
The Draw No Bet sees Maribor paying 2.00 while Zagreb is sitting at 1.72.
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