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Champions League Tips: A very nervy night in Baku awaits for Celtic

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon should brace himself for a busy evening in Azerbaijan
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon should brace himself for a busy evening in Azerbaijan

Michael Lintorn admires Karabakh's impressive home form, as well as pointing out useful Malmo FF and Shakhtar trends...


"Since 2009/10, Karabakh have welcomed 21 foreign guests and only lost to three: Bundesliga duo Borussia Dortmund and Frankfurt, and 2014/15 Europa League finalists Dnipro.

Recommended Bet: Back Karabakh to win (draw no bet) against Celtic @ 2.1211/10

Karabakh 3.052/1 v Celtic 2.546/4; The Draw 3.39/4
Wednesday, 17:30
Live on BT Sport Europe

By the end of this Champions League tie, Celtic fans could find themselves parroting a phrase that surely became popular among Manchester City's homegrown-quota policy overseers: thank goodness for Dedryck Boyata.

The Belgian defender's late goal in the first leg gave the Bhoys a 1-0 aggregate lead that is essential in the context of Karabakh's terrifying home record in Europe. Since 2009/10, they have welcomed 21 foreign guests and only lost to three: Bundesliga duo Borussia Dortmund and Frankfurt, and 2014/15 Europa League finalists Dnipro.

The Azerbaijani champions have won a mighty six of the most recent nine in knockout ties and kept the same number of clean sheets so, even though Celtic deserve to be favourites to progress after preventing any away goals, it doesn't seem right that they are frontrunners on the night.

Recommended Bet: Back Karabakh to win (draw no bet) @ 2.1211/10


Malmo FF 3.1511/5 v Red Bull Salzburg 2.427/5; The Draw 3.613/5
Wednesday, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

Betfair customers with funds in their account will be free to watch this match and discover whether the greatest unsung streak in European football is extended. The sequence in question is of course the Malmo FF masterclass in how to avoid both teams scoring.

In case you haven't got a clue what this is referring to - and shame on you if so - the Swedish title holders have competed in 11 successive continental clashes at their Swedbank Stadion in which at least one of they or their opponents have been shut out.

Regardless of whether they are playing Juventus or Drogheda United, or whether they are winning 3-0 or losing 2-0, there is always a zero or two involved yet, despite this trend, their 2-0 first-leg defeat or a 3-0 triumph when hosting Red Bull Salzburg last August, it is rated a 2.265/4 shot.

Recommended Bet: Back both teams to score? No @ 2.265/4


Shakhtar 1.855/6 v Fenerbahce 5.24/1; The Draw 3.711/4
Wednesday, 19:45

Here's a statistic that might surprise you: Fenerbahce haven't reached the Champions League group stage since 2008.

While your jaw is on the floor, digest this too: since the summer of 2013, Shakhtar have waved off Fernandinho, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Razvan Rat, Douglas Costa, Luiz Adriano, Fernando (not the Man City one) and Ilsinho.

Legendary coach Mircea Lucescu remains, but the squad is getting weaker and they no longer get to entertain at their fortress Donbass Arena due to safety concerns, instead being forced to play in Lviv. As they wane, Fenerbahce are strengthening, with Simon Kjaer, Nani and Robin van Persie among the eye-catching arrivals in this window.

Shakhtar have won just two of their last nine at home in the Champions League, against Real Sociedad and BATE Borisov, and so appear worth a lay at odds-on, with the outcome likely to be similar to the goalless first leg.

Recommended Bet: Lay Shakhtar to win @ 1.865/6


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