Qualifying for Europe's top competition has reached stage two and Christian Crowther is offering three tips....
"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side recorded their second straight Norwegian triumph earlier this year and were busy defeating Stuttgart home and away in the group stage of the Europa League last season."
Back Molde to beat Sligo Rovers @ 2.111/10
Back Molde to win away to Sligo Rovers @ 2.111/10
Republic of Ireland's champions host the champions of Norway, but Sligo Rovers will not have faced a side of Molde's quality since making it into the group stages of the 1996 Intertoto Cup. Sligo finally achieved a third domestic title last term after a 35-year gap, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side recorded their second straight Norwegian triumph earlier this year and were busy defeating Stuttgart home and away in the group stage of the Europa League last season. Meanwhile, Sligo's three recent attempts at Europa League qualification all ended over one tie, witnessing two home defeats in the process. Only a stoppage-time equaliser prevented the same fate against FC Spartak Trnava at the Showgrounds last summer.
Back Slovan Bratislava to beat Ludogorets @ 1.910/11
Slovakia's best take on Bulgaria's best in the second round of qualifying and Slovan have a 100% record of navigating this stage the last two times that they have appeared. Both in the 2009/10 season and more recently in 2011/12, two convincing home wins sent them through to the third round. Meanwhile, Ludogorets' first foray into Champions League qualification came at this stage last season where they ended up losing the away leg 3-2 to Dinamo Zagreb and ultimately the tie as a result. Slovan also famously beat Roma 1-0 at this stadium in 2011/12 en route to the Europa League group stage.
Back BATE Borisov to win both halves against Shakhter Karagandy @ 2.56/4
BATE Borisov are not only Belarus' finest club side having secured a seventh straight domestic title in 2012, they've also become Champions League group stage regulars. Last season was BATE's third appearance in the competition proper in the last five editions and one their fans will never forget. The Belarusians became one of only two teams in European competition and one of only three clubs all season to beat Bayern Munich during their treble-winning campaign; thumping them 3-1 at home. BATE should have far too much quality for the Kazakhstani champions Karangandy, who failed at this stage last year against much weaker opposition.
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