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Red Star Belgrade to cruise to victory
11 July 2018, 10:00
Red Star Belgrade to cruise to victory

Red Star Belgrade travel to Spartaks Jurmala Latvia on Wednesday to kick off the Champions League first qualifying round. Red Star has a history in the Champions league few first qualifying round clubs can claim.

The Serbian club famously won the tournament back in 1991 and supporters dream of the day Red Star once again lift the European Cup. If Red Star want to play in the cup final once more, they will have to get past Spartaks over two legs.

Spartaks finished the 2017 Latvian top-flight as champions. The league contains just eight clubs and play a spring to autumn league season. Spartaks are currently in the midst of the 2018 league campaign as their entry into the Champions league is based on their performance from nearly nine months ago. Spartaks haven't been able to duplicate last season's form and currently the team sit in fourth place, 11 points behind the league's leaders Rigas. Spartaks have won the league title two years running, although it doesn't look likely the club will make it a third consecutive triumph.

Red Star may not be in the middle of their domestic campaign, but the club is in preseason. The Serbian league will kick off on July 21. Although Red Star will play their first league match after the first qualifying round, their fitness should be in good enough. Red Star's players will have been put through their paces in preseason and ready for their away date with Spartaks. The Latvian side could spring a surprise in the first match. Due to Spartaks having played 14 league matches so far, the team will have a chemistry Red Star have not yet developed.

While Red Star could be at a disadvantage due to a lack of game time, sportsbooks have installed the Serbian club as favourites. Red Star maybe not be able to shake off the early season cobwebs, but by the end of the fixture the team's talent will rise to the top.

There is a gulf in class between the two teams and Red Star will ease their way to a full-time win. Spartaks could be difficult to break down in the opening 45 minutes, but Red Star will be able to get into gear in the second period to gain a vital away goal (or two) and win the match. The two sides will play in Belgrade on July 17 in the return leg.

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Champions League - predictions, tips, statistics

Featured match

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Preliminary Round - Semi-Finals
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Preliminary Round - Final
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2nd Qualifying Round
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1st Qualifying Round
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