Rakow Czestochowa and Aris Limassol will face each other in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. In the final round of play, the home team defeated Qarabag. Limassol crushed BATE Borisov 11-5 overall to secure their place in the third qualifying round.
Preview (Rakow Czestochowa vs Aris Limassol)
The current Polish champions, Rakow, secured a spot in the first qualifying round of the Champions League after winning the top division for the first time last season with 75 points. Dawid Szwarga’s team lost in the Europa Conference League playoff round in 2021–22 and 2022–23. It would be a major accomplishment if they were able to make it into the group stage. Rakow had to get through two matches to get to this point. They defeated Flora 4-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round before defeating Qarabag 4-3 in the final match.
In order to proceed to the playoffs, the Polish champions must now defeat Limassol over two legs. It would put them within striking distance of winning a position in the European Cup group stage. The club of Szwarga is already two games into their current domestic campaign. They come into this game off a 2-2 draw with Warta Poznan on Saturday that raised their point total to four. Limassol, however, won’t start their domestic season until August 18 against AEK Larnaca. This will allow the Cypriot team to devote all of their attention to this two-leg contest.
The Light Brigade just needed to win one game to proceed to this level after winning the top division. They secured their berth in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. The team of Aleksey Shpilevsky would have anticipated a challenging two-leg matchup with BATE. Limassol put themselves in the driving seat by winning the first leg 6-2 at home. The Cypriot team then triumphed in the rematch 5-3 to win the series 11-5 overall. They easily advanced to the third round of the European Cup qualifying. Limassol, who previous season became the first team to win the Cypriot First Division, fell short in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.
John Yeboah, who had to be removed in the first half of the game with Qarabag and subsequently missed the match against Warta Poznan over the weekend, is anticipated to be unavailable for Rakow. The 30-year-old Lukasz Zwolinski has been in superb form for the Polish team this season, scoring five goals, and he will once more play in an offensive role. For the home team, Bartosz Nowak might start as the center forward. Fran Tudor, who has already made six appearances this season, should also be included in the starting lineup. For Limassol, head coach Shpilevskiy may go with the same lineup that played in the second leg of their last match against BATE.
The 31-year-old Yannick Gomis is expected to remain in the final third of the field after a solid start to the season in which he has already scored three goals. Leo Bengtsson, meanwhile, has scored twice in his first two games of the season. The attacker should continue to play in this match. This two-leg contest should be quite competitive, and we anticipate a close game on Tuesday. Rakow will try to gain an edge by playing at home, but Limassol will come out firing, therefore we’re betting on a low-scoring draw in the first leg.
Rakow Czestochowa 1-1 Aris Limassol
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