Crvena Zvezda vs. CSKA Moscow / Europa League – This is the first match of European club competitions after the winter break and the first round of 32 match of the Europa League. Neither Crvena Zvezda nor CSKA Moscow are champions of their respective countries and instead they ended up at second positions. However, CSKA played in the Champions League where it was third in the group phase and now plays in the knockout phase of the Europa League, in which Crvena Zvezda has been playing from the first qualifying round and had played a large number of matches. The two teams have in common that their national championships haven’t started yet and by that it is difficult to say anything about their form. Begins: 13.02.2018 – 18:00 CET
For the time being this is a great season for Crvena Zvezda. The team is serious contender for both domestic titles, and it managed after many years to finally make a step more in Europe and reach the knockout phase. Crvena Zvezda had played 14 European matches, even eight in the qualifications, where it lost just once by Russian Krasnodar. Their rivals in the group phase were quite strong but only Arsenal managed to defeat them, with which Crvena Zvezda drew the second match.
Two draws with BATE Borisov and two wins over 1.FC Cologne were enough to reach the knockout phase. It is very important to say that it received just two goals in the group phase and scored only three. The team underwent number of changes during the winter break and out of those who left midfielder Kanga is worth mentioning, but the team’s first scorer Boakye stayed and they loaned Ben.
Probable lineups Crvena Zvezda: Borjan – Stojkovic, Le Tallec, Savic, Rodic – Krstičic, Donald – Srnic, Pesic, Ben – Boakye
There is no many reasons for CSKA to be happy as the team was at mere fifth place when the winter break started. City rival Lokomotiv is the leader in Russian Premier League and has even nine points more, so it is quite probably that CSKA will not win the title for the second year in a row. Another city rival Spartak managed to do that last season but CSKA at least reached the qualifications for the Champions League. It played well those four matches but failed to reach the second place in the group phase, and instead had ended up at the third place with three wins and three defeats.
CSKA was already eliminated from the Russian Cup, while in the league they had lost before the break the city derby to Spartak 3-0. They also lost the last match of the group phase to Manchester United away. Regarding newcomers, we need to single out forward Musa who used to play for CSKA and now is loaned back from Leicester. On the list of injured players are stopper A. Berezutski and midfielder Milanov, who will not take part in this match.
Probable lineups CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev – Vasin, V. Berezutski, Ignashevich – M. Fernandes, Golovin, Natcho, Dzagoev, Wernbloom – Vitinho, A. Musa
Crvena Zvezda – CSKA Moscow PICK
Naturally, Russian CSKA is a favourite to reach the next round, however, they are not a big favourite in this match in which we believe that the home team will put up a solid resistance. Crvena Zvezda played tough football in the group phase and this match could be similar.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.65 at betvictor (down to 1.57 can be played)